Journal of Children and Poverty
The homelessness response system in the United States is dominated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s definition of homelessness, program models, metrics, data, approaches, and goals have overshadowed those of other federal agencies. This policy brief argues that children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness have been poorly served by HUD’s dominance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It proposes that other federal agencies, specifically the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education, are better suited to provide comprehensive homeless assistance for children, youth, and families. The author draws from research, policy analyses, and testimonies of parents, service providers, and educators to make the case for a reimagined homelessness response that is child-centered and oriented toward long-term goals of economic independence, health, and wellness.