Last week, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously voted to send “The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act (H.R. 4300) (FSHO) to the House for a full vote. FSHO would give preference in housing vouchers to youth transitioning from foster care. The bill, which has bipartisan support, led by Congressman Mike Turner (D-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Congresswomen Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Karen Bass (D-CA) would require local collaboration and coordination between the Child Welfare agencies and Public Housing Authorities to administer and refer youth who are eligible for HUD’s Family Unification Program vouchers.

Congresswoman Dean stated, “[FSHO] will help them keep a roof over young adults transitioning out of the foster care system heads as they claim their education or build a career” when she introduced the bill. FSHO, additionally, addresses the need for self-sufficiency among this population of at-risk youth including extending housing assistance from the current three years to five years by voluntarily enrolling young adults in HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program if they are pursuing further education, engaging in workforce development or vocational training, or working. “We [shouldn’t] allow the children in our lives to be homeless the day they become legal adults,” stated co-Chairperson Bass of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus.

Recent data and reports from NYTD, Child Trends, and other sources indicate that young people transitioning from foster care, by age 19, are at risk of homelessness, lack educational attainment, and unemployed. Only half of the states have extended foster care beyond the age of 18 despite the positive outcomes for older youth and the option for continued funding through Title IV-E. Congressman Turner first introduced this bill in 2016 and stated that “this bill will create a pathway for kids aging out of the foster care to transition into independence. Aging out of foster care should not mean aging into homelessness.”

CWLA joined dozens of other local, state, and national organizations in support of the bill. If you are interested in adding your organization as a supporter of the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act, click here.