In 2023, JBAY will advocate for these policy priorities to improve the quality of life for foster and homeless youth in California.
SB 307: Expanding Financial Aid for Foster Youth
College affordability is cited as the number one barrier to college completion among foster youth, with only 10% obtaining a college degree by the age of 23. Senate Bill 307, authored by Senators Mike McGuire and Angelique Ashby, will change this outcome by establishing the Fostering Futures program within the existing Middle Class Scholarship to make debt-free college a reality for foster youth. This program will cover 100% of remaining unmet need after other federal, state and institutional aid for student’s pursuing an associate degree, transfer pathway or certificate at a community college, or a bachelor’s degree at a CSU or UC.
AB 525: Improving Housing Affordability & Reducing Homelessness Among Foster Youth
Assembly Bill 525, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, will reduce instability and homelessness among youth in extended foster care who are placed in the Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP). California is facing a housing affordability crisis. Though foster youth in SILPs receive monthly aid meant to cover living costs, the cost of housing has increased substantially since the SILP was established, and the basic rate provided to youth in these placements has not kept pace, leaving them vulnerable to housing instability. To reduce homelessness, AB 525 would establish a SILP housing supplemental payment to augment the basic rate, based on the cost of housing in their county of residence.
AB 789: Expanding Access to Financial Aid
Assembly Bill 789, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, will enable students who struggle academically to continue their education by removing barriers to maintaining financial aid. Research shows that nearly one in four first-year, low-income students do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards required to receive state and federal financial aid, and many do not continue their education. AB 789, co-sponsored by JBAY and seven of California’s leading college affordability advocates, will create a common set of SAP standards, remove additional requirements that are more restrictive than those federally mandated, and ensure students have clear pathways to regain financial aid.
AB 799: Homelessness Accountability & Results Act
Assembly Bill 799, authored by Assemblymember Luz Rivas, will strengthen California’s response to homelessness, including homelessness among youth, by establishing accountability measures and evidence-based improvements to the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program. HHAP provides funding to homeless Continuums of Care, counties, and large cities to support a variety of homelessness interventions. HHAP contains a 10% “youth set-aside” requiring local jurisdictions to invest at least 10% of its funding in addressing homelessness among youth. This bill is accompanied by a budget proposal requesting $2 billion in ongoing funding for HHAP.