On Friday, the Oregon House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 2544, a bipartisan bill that will allocate aid to thousands of Oregon’s unaccompanied homeless youth. With over 3,700 unaccompanied homeless youth in the 2018-19 school year alone, Oregon has the highest rate of youth homelessness in the nation. This legislation will provide $1.8 million to expand Oregon’s host home network, and another $1.8 million for the expansion of existing shelter facilities.
“I am proud to continue my record of advancing funding for homeless youth in our region. In 2019, I secured $300,000 for unaccompanied homeless youth in my district to help support 853 homeless students in the North Clackamas, Oregon City, and Canby School Districts; 202 were unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. These numbers are shocking but not surprising since on a statewide level, Oregon holds the distinction of having the highest rates of homeless youth in the nation. Children that are homeless are 68% more likely to experience chronic homelessness as adults. Without intervention, we cannot expect homeless kids to achieve their best future and reach their highest potential. This year’s funding of $3.6 million will support statewide services and shelters, in addition to expanding on the home network that was funded in 2019. We are not just funding housing for kids that desperately need stability—with the help of an engaged community we can transform lives, with a little extra help today there is hope for tomorrow,” said Rep. Christine Drazan (R-Canby).