Congressman Michael Turner

Representing the 10th District of Ohio

Turner and Dean Introduce The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act

Sep 12, 2019
Press Release

Today, Representatives Mike Turner (OH-10), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Karen Bass (CA-37), and Steve Stivers (OH- 15) introduced a revised version of The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act (FSHO), a bipartisan bill designed to increase access to housing for youth aging out of foster care without increasing federal spending.

“The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act will help break the cycle of federally created homelessness, in which youth are currently aging out of foster care and into homelessness,” said Turner. “Roughly 21,000 youth across the country age out of foster care each year. This bill will create a pathway for kids aging out of the foster care system to transition successfully into independence. Aging out of foster care should not mean aging into homelessness. I am proud to have championed FSHO since its inception in 2015 – and after four years of refining this legislation, working directly with foster youth and alumni, and collaborating with Members on both sides of the aisle, I look forward to advancing FSHO through the House of Representatives.”

“Young people leaving foster care are often at great risk of homelessness and poverty,” said Rep. Dean. “This legislation will help them keep a roof over their heads as they claim their education or build a career.”

“At 18, life is just getting started, and foster youth should not have their potential squandered by homelessness,” Rep. Stivers said. “We should be giving kids all the tools they need to succeed, and that is what this legislation does. I’m proud to partner with Reps. Turner, Dean, and Bass to introduce the FSHO, and look forward to the impact it will make for over 20,000 foster youth.”

“We applaud the Financial Services Committee staff for working in close partnership with foster youth to craft this elegantly simple, yet sophisticated solution to homelessness,” said Ruth White, executive director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare. “With this re-introduction of FSHO Mrs. Dean, Mrs. Bass, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Stivers are leading a bipartisan effort to close the systems gaps through which foster youth age out into homelessness and instead set them on a path to economic success.”

“As a former foster youth who has been advocating for over a decade to improve access to housing and self-sufficiency services for my brothers and sisters in care, it is hard to express how gratifying it has been to work in full partnership with Hill staff to craft FSHO,” said Jamole Callahan, Director of Training and Development for ACTION Ohio. “Reps. Dean, Bass, Turner, and Stivers have set a high bar for what it means to value the voices of youth and as a result youth no longer have to experience homelessness - instead they will thrive.”

BACKGROUND

In FY2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families estimated that over 20,000 youth across the country emancipated (“aged out”) from foster care. The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act prioritizes minors who are aging out of foster care and at risk of homelessness when furnishing housing assistance, and provides these individuals enhanced opportunities to become successful, productive members of society. Foster care alumni with stable housing and a legitimate chance to establish themselves as they transition into adulthood are more likely to become successful, self-sufficient citizens.

The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act will improve upon existing law, using an approach that aligns federal housing assistance resources to reach foster youth concurrent with their aging out of foster care and within the local jurisdiction where they live. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) will coordinate with Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWAs) to match up foster youth across the country who are aging out and at risk of homelessness with 3-year housing vouchers, precisely when and where demand exists.

Foster alumni can extend their housing assistance for up to two “bonus” years for a maximum of 5 years total – typically through age 25 – by demonstrating that they are moving toward self-sufficiency by participating in HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, pursuing further education, engaging in workforce development or vocational training, or are employed. Participating foster care alumni are also eligible to take advantage of any wrap-around or supportive services (e.g., self-sufficiency & life skills training) offered by, or through, the local PHA.

The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act has been endorsed for the 116th Congress or in a previous Congress by the following organizations:

  • National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
  • Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now (ACTION) Ohio
  • Ohio Youth Advisory Board (YAB)
  • Benchmarks
  • Bethesda Clinic
  • Center of Vocational Alternatives (COVA) (Ohio)
  • Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association
  • Child Welfare League of America
  • Coalition on Human Needs
  • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • El’lesun
  • Elevating Connections
  • Elon Homes and Schools for Children Inc
  • First Focus Campaign for Children
  • Forward Steps Foundation
  • Foster Alumni Mentors
  • Foster Care Alumni of America
  • Foster Care C.A.N.
  • Foster-U
  • Fostering Change Network LLC
  • Friends of Children
  • iFoster
  • John Burton Advocates for Youth
  • LIFE Skills Foundation
  • Lighthouse Youth Services (Ohio)
  • MCYS - Bridgeway Shelter
  • Methodist home
  • Monarch
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • National Network for Youth
  • Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies
  • Ohio Children's Alliance
  • Safe Harbor Orphan Care
  • SchoolHouse Connection
  • The International Institute Of Family Development
  • The Purple Project
  • Turning Points for Children
  • Wilkes County DSS
  • WV Child Care Association

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