Ohio bill designed to track and help homeless youth
Some lawmakers have introduced a bill that aims to change HUD's definition of a homeless person to help kids get the resources they need.
Ohio Representative Stivers and a colleague tried unsuccessfully two years ago. They're reintroducing the bill. HUD would recognize homeless youth like schools already do. Then they can get an accurate count and get help for this segment of the population.
“We need to change the definition of homelessness so we can count homeless youth,” said Rep. Steve Stivers.
At Huckleberry House, the need is never more present. About 500 to 600 kids come through the house each year. They get their own bed and bin, a luxury for them.
“Huck House has never turned anyone away, never,” said Executive Director Becky Westerfelt.
Dasmine Wright is one of those kids. Someone finally recognized her situation and recommended her for the Huck House's transitional program for older youth who have no place of their own.
“There are three major things that you need in a home, you need stability, you need security and you need safety...the majority of my life I’ve technically been homeless...we would like to be in hotels or with family members” said Wright.
She's breaking the cycle and is determined to provide that stable home for her 11-month old son, Carter. She just got a full-time office job and will get her own apartment for the first time in a few months.
“These are children, we have no business putting these children out on the street,” said Westerfelt.
Rep. Joyce Beatty joined Rep. Stivers today since the Huck House is in her district. She vowed to help find funding to help homeless youth.
Huck House has a 24-hour crisis hotline for homeless youth, it’s 614-294-5553. Their website is www.huckhouse.org.