Rep. Ted Harhai
58th Legislative District
Westmoreland County

Harhai to push for study on homelessness

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – In conjunction with his Republican counterpart, state Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Westmoreland/Fayette, the Democratic chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee, plans to introduce a resolution calling for a study on the prevalence and impacts of homelessness.

The initiative undertaken by Harhai and state Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, would direct the Joint State Government Commission to establish a bipartisan legislative task force and advisory committee to conduct a study on the occurrence, effects and trends of homelessness in Pennsylvania. It also calls for the commission’s findings and recommendations to be reported to the House of Representatives within two years

Harhai said the study would produce valuable insight by documenting the scope of the problem, cataloging its causes and effects, and offering solutions.

"As the number of people without permanent shelter continues to grow – with children being the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population – we need to take stock of the situation and its impact on our communities," Harhai said. "This is a bipartisan effort to find constructive solutions."

Harhai said that nationwide, as many as 2 million people will experience homelessness this year. He said the problem’s ripple effects impact physical and mental health, emotional and behavioral development in children, and academic success in students.
"Obstacles like frequent moves disrupt homeless children’s education, often setting them back academically three to six months -- as well as making these students twice as likely to repeat a grade and 60 percent more likely to drop out of school," Harhai said.
Harhai is currently seeking cosponsors for the House resolution, which he plans to introduce soon.

Ted Harhai

58th Legislative District
Westmoreland County
(724) 684-2939