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

1bridges, in parks or sleeping in someone else's house
2temporarily; and

3WHEREAS, The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported
4an estimated 235,000 Pennsylvanians as living doubled up in
5someone else's house temporarily in 2011; and

6WHEREAS, In Pennsylvania, statistics show that family,
7veteran and chronic homelessness have all risen between 2011 and
82012; and

9WHEREAS, Homeless pregnant mothers are less likely to have
10received adequate prenatal care and more likely to be young and
11without a high school education; and

12WHEREAS, Children born to homeless mothers are more likely to
13be born prematurely and at a low birth weight. These children
14have higher than average rates of chronic health conditions such
15as asthma, evidence high rates of chronic ear infections and are
16at increased risk for iron-deficiency anemia and lead toxicity;

18WHEREAS, In Pennsylvania, more than 9,400 children spent at
19least one night in emergency or transitional housing in 2011,
20nearly 60% of whom are less than six years of age; and

21WHEREAS, Pennsylvania school districts provided services to
2220,556 homeless children and youth in 2010-2011; and

23WHEREAS, For many children, homelessness represents many
24risks, including the likelihood of experiencing an array of
25health challenges; and

26WHEREAS, In addition to health-related risks, research
27demonstrates that children experiencing homelessness are more
28likely to have been exposed to family violence; and

29WHEREAS, Almost 40% of children served by emergency housing
30programs experienced substantiated abuse or neglect and more

1than 20% had been placed in out-of-home care by the end of the
2second grade; and

3WHEREAS, The effects of childhood homelessness do not end
4with childhood. Homeless children experience higher rates of
5physical and sexual risk behaviors and are more likely to
6partake in illegal substances; and

7WHEREAS, Homeless children show higher rates of poor mental
8health, are less likely to graduate from high school and are
9more likely to end up incarcerated; and

10WHEREAS, The adverse influence of childhood homelessness on
11children's health, development and well-being is associated with
12short-term and long-term societal costs that far exceed the cost
13of providing shelter alone and creates a costly toll on society;

<-15WHEREAS, Funding for the Homeless Assistance Program in
16Pennsylvania has decreased by $8,000,000 since 2008; and

17WHEREAS, The high demand for housing and other causative
18factors of homelessness compelled counties in Pennsylvania to
19increase their emergency housing units for families by 12% from
202009-2011; therefore be it

21RESOLVED, That the Joint State Government Commission be
22directed to establish a bipartisan legislative task force <-of 
23four members of the House of Representatives to investigate,
24review and make recommendations of the causes and impacts of
25homelessness in Pennsylvania; and be it further

<-26RESOLVED, That the Speaker of the House of Representatives
27and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives each
28appoint two members of the task force; and be it further

29RESOLVED, That the task force be authorized to hold <-public 
30hearings <-information sessions, take testimony and conduct site

1visits; and be it further

2RESOLVED, That the Joint State Government Commission oversee
3the creation of an advisory committee of no fewer than 13
4members to assist the task force in its study and
5recommendations; and be it further

6RESOLVED, That the advisory committee be a bipartisan, broad-
7based and geographically diverse representation <-that may include 
8individuals from among the business, faith, community, labor,
9local government and human services communities and individuals
10affected by poverty; and be it further

11RESOLVED, That the advisory committee <-be comprised of at 
12least: <-shall include all of the following as members:

13(1) Secretary of Community and Economic Development, or
14his or her designee;

15(2) Secretary of Corrections, or his or her designee;

16(3) Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs, or his or 
17her designee;

18(4) Secretary of Education, or his or her designee;

19(5) Secretary of Labor and Industry, or his or her

21(6) Secretary of Public Welfare, or his or her designee;

22(7) Chairman of the Governor's Commission for Children
23and Families, or his or her designee;

24(8) Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of
25the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, or his or her

<-27(1) (9) one representative from the executive branch;

<-28(2) (10) four representatives of agencies that work with
29homeless Pennsylvanians, with every reasonable effort made to
30include diverse homeless populations, such as veterans,

1people with disabilities, families with children, single
2individuals, senior citizens and victims of domestic

4(3) (11) individuals from the general public <-who were 
5formerly homeless; and

<-6(4) (12) two individuals from each of the Southeastern,
7Northeastern, Central and Western geographic regions of this

9and be it further

10RESOLVED, That the <-task force, with the assistance of the
11advisory committee<-, examine data, interview individuals and
12families, <-survey contact communities through methods decided by
13the committee and examine successful strategies used in other
14states' poverty reduction efforts; and be it further

15RESOLVED, That additional assistance in this endeavor be
16provided by the Urban Affairs Committee of the House of
17Representatives; and be it further

18RESOLVED, That the <-task force Joint State Government 
19Commission, with the assistance of the advisory committee:

20(1) Review other recent studies of homelessness from
21around the country.

22(2) Research and review the cost factor of homelessness
23that shall include health care costs, education, mental
24health, incarceration rates and other factors.

25(3) Undertake a comprehensive analysis of Pennsylvania's
26homelessness problem to determine what policy
27recommendations, if any, would move the Commonwealth toward
28permanently reducing and eliminating homelessness.

29(4) Examine other matters that it deems important;

30and be it further

1RESOLVED, That the task force propose new legislation, if
2necessary and appropriate; and be it further

<-3RESOLVED, That the task force and advisory committee choose a
4chairperson from among its members; and be it further

5RESOLVED, That members of the task force and advisory
6committee serve without compensation, but be reimbursed for
7necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties,
8within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made
9available to the task force and advisory committee for their
10purposes. All members of the task force or advisory committee
11who are duly elected members of the General Assembly shall
12remain members of the task force or advisory committee until
13they report their findings and recommendations to the House of
14Representatives; and be it further

<-15RESOLVED, That the task force select a chairman and such
16other officers as the task force may deem necessary from among
17its membership; and be it further

18RESOLVED, That the advisory committee choose a chairperson
19from among its members; and be it further

20RESOLVED, That all State, county and municipal agencies,
21departments, boards, bureaus and commissions cooperate fully
22with the task force and advisory committee; and be it further

23RESOLVED, That the task force <-and advisory committee report
<-24their its findings and recommendations to the House of
25Representatives no later than two years after the adoption of
26this resolution.