Breaking news: someone under the age of 42 wrote a letter. But seriously, that someone is Miley Cyrus, and her reason for writing that letter is super important.
The 22-year-old singer penned a letter on behalf of her Happy Hippie Foundation to three New York state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging them to provide “more funding” to assist their state’s homeless youth shelters.
Here’s a picture of the letter, which Miley posted to Instagram on Wednesday (Mar. 18).
“1.6 million kids across the United States are homeless, and the problem is especially serious in New York,” she writes. “Between 2009 and 2012, the number of kids turned away from homeless shelters in New York grew from 570 to more than 5,000.”
The letter continues: “That’s why I’m speaking up to support a request by Senator Brad Hoylman…to include $4.75 million for homeless youth in this year’s New York State budget. This money would have a direct impact — 1,000 new [badly needed] beds to help make sure every young person has a place to sleep at night.”
I’ve reached out to Senator Hoylman’s office for comment on Miley’s support of his initiative (and to confirm just how far the Smiler fandom has infiltrated the New York State Legislature), but I’ve yet to get a substantive answer. I’ll keep you updated if I hear more.
UPDATE! Senator Hoylman has since released a statement thanking Miley for her support. It reads:
“I’m incredibly grateful to Miley Cyrus for her support of our campaign to restore funding for homeless youth shelters in our state budget. It’s unconscionable that thousands of New York kids each year are turned away from homeless youth shelters because there aren’t enough beds. We must act now to bring these kids in from the cold by increasing funding for homeless youth shelters.”
This isn’t the first time Miley’s used her platform to raise awareness of the plight of homeless youth.
In 2014, she founded the Happy Hippie Foundation, a non-profit focused on fighting youth homelessness.
She also used her Video Of The Year win at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards to shine a light on the problem. In lieu of giving an acceptance speech, she asked her date for the night, Jesse Helt, to accept the Moonman in her place.
Once at the podium, Helt, who has been homeless at various points in his life, urged the music industry and viewers at home to get involved: “Los Angeles, the entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America. The music industry will make [billions of dollars] this year and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”
Helt, who met Cyrus through a Hollywood homeless shelter called My Friend’s Place, was later sentenced to six months of jail time after a past probation violation resurfaced. In an effort to keep the conversation she’d sparked about youth homelessness from getting derailed, Miley defended her VMA date, tweeting, “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.”
People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014
She echoes that compassionate sentiment in her letter to Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Dan Skelos, and Speaker Carl Heastie: “These young people are homeless through no fault of their own. They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.”
All in all, Miley’s actions are pretty inspiring — and I don’t just mean the, like, “actually writing a letter in 2015″ thing.
For more information on youth homelessness, check out the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.