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H.R. 5524 (110th): Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

6/9/2008--Passed House amended. Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 - (Sec. 3) Amends the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to revise requirements for services provided under grants from the Secretary of Health and Human Services for centers for runaway and homeless youth and their families.

Limits the length of stay in such a center to 15 days, unless it is located in a state or locality with a child or youth-serving-facility licensure law or regulation that permits a longer length of stay not in excess of 21 days.

Increases grant allotments from $100,000 to $150,000 for states and from $45,000 to $70,000 for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Prohibits such allotted amounts for a state for FY2009-FY2010 from being less than the allotted amount for FY2008.

(Sec. 4) Requires the plan proposed by grant applicants for a runaway and homeless youth center to include an adequate emergency preparedness and management plan.

(Sec. 5) Revises requirements for transitional living programs. Specifies that shelter may be provided by contract and that services to homeless youth may be direct or indirect.

Increases the length of continuous stay in such programs from 540 days to 635 days if the program is located in a state or locality that permits it.

Requires a transitional living program also to develop an adequate emergency preparedness and management plan.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Secretary to give priority (currently, special consideration) to grant applicants for specified research, evaluation, demonstration, and service projects regarding runaway youth and homeless youth.

Requires the Secretary to give special consideration to proposed projects relating to: (1) behavior (currently, mental) health care for runaway and homeless youth; (2) access to educational and workforce programs with outcomes such as decreasing the secondary school drop-out rate, increasing diploma or equivalent attainment rates, or increasing placement and retention in postsecondary education or advanced workforce training programs; and (3) programs, including innovative programs, that assist youth in obtaining and maintaining safe and stable housing (which may include programs with supportive services that continue after program completion).

Requires the Secretary to ensure that such selected applicants: (1) are geographically representative of different U.S. regions; and (2) carry out projects that serve diverse populations of runaway or homeless youth.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Secretary, in coordination with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, to report periodically to specified congressional committees and the public: (1) estimates of the incidence and prevalence of runaway and homeless individuals between 13 to 26 years of age; and (2) an assessment of such individual's characteristics.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Secretary to: (1) give priority to public and, as under current law, nonprofit private agencies for sexual abuse programs; and (2) conduct, directly or through grants or contracts, a national homeless youth awareness campaign. Specifies the use of, and prohibitions on, the obligation and expenditure of such campaign funds.

(Sec. 10) Redefines "homeless youth" to cover an individual seeking shelter in a runaway and homeless center until attaining a maximum age higher than 18, if the center is located in a state or locality with a child or youth-serving-facility licensure law or regulation that permits a higher maximum age.

Allows a homeless youth to participate in a transitional living program up to age 22 or higher, as of the expiration of the maximum stay permitted under the Act, if the individual commences such stay before attaining age 22.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2013.

(Sec. 12) Requires the Secretary to establish performance standards for grant recipients.

(Sec. 13) Requires the Comptroller General to study and report to specified congressional committees on the processes for making grants under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.