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Gov. Bob Wise Comments on Congressional Action to Expand Homeless Students’ Access to Critical Programs

Press Release:

Gov. Bob Wise Comments on Congressional Action to Expand Homeless Students’ Access to Critical Programs

February 7, 2012
Media Contact
Jason Amos
Phone: (202) 828-0828

Wise applauds Illinois Congresswoman Judy Biggert for “cutting through federal bureaucracy.”

Washington, DC – Today, the House Financial Services Committee’s Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee passed the Homeless Children and Youth Act, a bill that would ensure that homeless students identified as such by public schools and other federally funded programs are eligible for homeless services provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:

“It is absurd that, under current law, a child can be considered homeless by one federal agency but not by another. I applaud the work of Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) to cut through this federal bureaucracy and ensure that all homeless children have the opportunity to access the services they need and deserve.

“Under current law, more than 650,000 students are considered homeless by the U.S. Department of Education but not by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Federal law assures these homeless students access to public schools, but it prohibits them and their families from accessing HUD-funded homeless services, including basic services like shelter and case management.

“Many homeless students are not considered homeless by HUD because HUD’s definition of homelessness is very narrow and focuses primarily on single adults. Students and their families who have lost their homes but are temporarily staying with other families for longer than fourteen days-or who are temporarily staying in motels for more than fourteen days-are not considered to be homeless by HUD. These children and their families are often referred to as the ‘hidden homeless.’

“Homeless students are more likely to suffer health and other problems and less likely to graduate from high school than are their more stable peers. It is critical that these children receive the support they need to stabilize their situations at home so they can concentrate on their school work and go on to achieve their full potential.”

The Homeless Children and Youth Act is supported by a broad coalition of housing, education, and other organizations, including the Alliance for Excellent Education, American Bar Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Head Start Association, and National Parent Teacher Association.

More information on the Homeless Children and Youth Act is available at


The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit

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