| News

Jayapal Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Provide More Meals to Homeless Youth

Representatives Jayapal & Stefanik Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure More Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness Get the Meals They Need

Bill expands the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s age of eligibility from 18 to an individual’s 25th birthday, ensuring that more young adults who are experiencing homelessness can access free meals in emergency shelters

SEATTLE — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor,  joined U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (NY-21) today in introducing bipartisan legislation that increases access to free meals for young adults living in emergency shelters. The Feeding Homeless Youth During COVID-19 Act expands the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s age of eligibility from 18 to an individual’s 25th birthday, ensuring that more young adults who are experiencing homelessness can access free meals throughout the duration of this public health emergency. 

“COVID-19 has not only exposed our current crises of unemployment, housing insecurity and hunger but it has taken them from bad to worse for young people as they experience some of the most painful economic losses during this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that would immediately expand meal programs for young people experiencing homelessness, providing necessary nutrition to those living in emergency shelters as we continue to combat housing insecurity, hunger and economic inequality in one of the wealthiest nations on earth.”

“As shelters across the country continue to serve more young adults experiencing homelessness due to COVID-19, it is crucial that we provide them with the resources necessary to feed our communities,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation along with Rep. Jayapal, to expand access to this essential program specifically for young adults who are in need of nutritious meals. As we continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will continue to advocate for programs and initiatives that serve communities in need. I look forward to working with our House colleagues to further this important legislation.”

This legislation builds on Representative Jayapal’s Housing is a Human Right Act, which would invest more than $300 billion for crucial housing infrastructure to help address and take on root causes of homelessness. Additionally, the legislation transitions communities towards providing housing for all and ensures full democratic participation of persons experiencing homelessness.

Washington state has been a leader in ensuring that more young people receive the nutrition and resources they need while experiencing homelessness. It is one of a few states that have already changed the age of eligibility so individuals are served at youth shelters until their 25th birthday.

First authorized in 1975, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides federal reimbursements for meals and snacks that are served in nearly 156,500 childcare centers, day care homes and adult day care centers nationwide. Individuals are  eligible for up to three free meals per day under the program. CACFP benefits were initially extended in 1999 to include meal services to youth up to the age of 18 who reside with their families in emergency shelters. 

The legislation is available here.

###