1Directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish a
2bipartisan legislative task force and an advisory committee
3to conduct a study of the occurrence, effects and trends of
4homelessness in Pennsylvania and to report its findings and
5recommendations to the House of Representatives.

6WHEREAS, Shelter is a basic human need; and

7WHEREAS, A stable, quality, affordable home promotes family
8stability, physical and mental health and enhances both adults'
9and children's ability to be productive. Conversely, the lack of
10a stable, quality, affordable home increases the risk of
11illness, failure at school, inability to find or hold a job,
12incarceration and nursing home placement, often at public
13expense; and

14WHEREAS, In 2011, more than 34,000 Pennsylvanians spent at
15least one night in an emergency or transitional housing program,
16not including those individuals living on the street, under
17bridges, in parks or sleeping in someone else's house

1temporarily; and

2WHEREAS, The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported
3an estimated 235,000 Pennsylvanians as living doubled up in
4someone else's house temporarily in 2011; and

5WHEREAS, In Pennsylvania, statistics show that family,
6veteran and chronic homelessness have all risen between 2011 and
72012; and

8WHEREAS, Homeless pregnant mothers are less likely to have
9received adequate prenatal care and more likely to be young and
10without a high school education; and

11WHEREAS, Children born to homeless mothers are more likely to
12be born prematurely and at a low birth weight. These children
13have higher than average rates of chronic health conditions such
14as asthma, evidence high rates of chronic ear infections and are
15at increased risk for iron-deficiency anemia and lead toxicity;

17WHEREAS, In Pennsylvania, more than 9,400 children spent at
18least one night in emergency or transitional housing in 2011,
19nearly 60% of whom are less than six years of age; and

20WHEREAS, Pennsylvania school districts provided services to
2120,556 homeless children and youth in 2010-2011; and

22WHEREAS, For many children, homelessness represents many
23risks, including the likelihood of experiencing an array of
24health challenges; and

25WHEREAS, In addition to health-related risks, research
26demonstrates that children experiencing homelessness are more
27likely to have been exposed to family violence; and

28WHEREAS, Almost 40% of children served by emergency housing
29programs experienced substantiated abuse or neglect and more
30than 20% had been placed in out-of-home care by the end of the

1second grade; and

2WHEREAS, The effects of childhood homelessness do not end
3with childhood. Homeless children experience higher rates of
4physical and sexual risk behaviors and are more likely to
5partake in illegal substances; and

6WHEREAS, Homeless children show higher rates of poor mental
7health, are less likely to graduate from high school and are
8more likely to end up incarcerated; and

9WHEREAS, The adverse influence of childhood homelessness on
10children's health, development and well-being is associated with
11short-term and long-term societal costs that far exceed the cost
12of providing shelter alone and creates a costly toll on society;

14WHEREAS, Funding for the Homeless Assistance Program in
15Pennsylvania has decreased by $8,000,000 since 2008; and

16WHEREAS, The high demand for housing and other causative
17factors of homelessness compelled counties in Pennsylvania to
18increase their emergency housing units for families by 12% from
192009-2011; therefore be it

20RESOLVED, That the Joint State Government Commission be
21directed to establish a bipartisan legislative task force to
22investigate, review and make recommendations of the causes and
23impacts of homelessness in Pennsylvania; and be it further

24RESOLVED, That the task force be authorized to hold public
25hearings, take testimony and conduct site visits; and be it

27RESOLVED, That the Joint State Government Commission oversee
28the creation of an advisory committee of no fewer than 13
29members to assist the task force in its study and
30recommendations; and be it further

1RESOLVED, That the advisory committee be a bipartisan, broad-
2based and geographically diverse representation among the
3business, faith, community, labor, local government and human
4services communities and individuals affected by poverty; and be
5it further

6RESOLVED, That the advisory committee be comprised of at

8(1) one representative from the executive branch;

9(2) four representatives of agencies that work with
10homeless Pennsylvanians, with every reasonable effort made to
11include diverse homeless populations, such as veterans,
12people with disabilities, families with children, single
13individuals, senior citizens and victims of domestic

15(3) individuals from the general public; and

16(4) two individuals from each of the Southeastern,
17Northeastern, Central and Western geographic regions of this

19and be it further

20RESOLVED, That the advisory committee examine data, interview
21individuals and families, survey communities through methods
22decided by the committee and examine successful strategies used
23in other states' poverty reduction efforts; and be it further

24RESOLVED, That additional assistance in this endeavor be
25provided by the Urban Affairs Committee of the House of
26Representatives; and be it further

27RESOLVED, That the task force, with the assistance of the
28advisory committee:

29(1) Review other recent studies of homelessness from
30around the country.

1(2) Research and review the cost factor of homelessness
2that shall include health care costs, education, mental
3health, incarceration rates and other factors.

4(3) Undertake a comprehensive analysis of Pennsylvania's
5homelessness problem to determine what policy
6recommendations, if any, would move the Commonwealth toward
7permanently reducing and eliminating homelessness.

8(4) Examine other matters that it deems important;

9and be it further

10RESOLVED, That the task force propose new legislation, if
11necessary and appropriate; and be it further

12RESOLVED, That the task force and advisory committee choose a
13chairperson from among its members; and be it further

14RESOLVED, That members of the task force and advisory
15committee serve without compensation, but be reimbursed for
16necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties,
17within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made
18available to the task force and advisory committee for their
19purposes. All members of the task force or advisory committee
20who are duly elected members of the General Assembly shall
21remain members of the task force or advisory committee until
22they report their findings and recommendations to the House of
23Representatives; and be it further

24RESOLVED, That all State, county and municipal agencies,
25departments, boards, bureaus and commissions cooperate fully
26with the task force and advisory committee; and be it further

27RESOLVED, That the task force and advisory committee report
28their findings and recommendations to the House of
29Representatives no later than two years after the adoption of
30this resolution.