In 2023, JBAY successfully advocated for these policy priorities to improve the quality of life for foster and homeless youth in California.
Removing Barriers to Financial Aid
Assembly Bill 789, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in October of 2023. It 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 eight 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.
$18.8 Million to Prevent Homelessness Among Foster Youth
The 2023-24 California state budget includes $1 million in FY 2023-24 and ongoing funding of $18.8 million starting in FY 2025-26, championed by Assemblymember Phil Ting and Senator María Elena Durazo to reduce homelessness and housing instability among foster youth, age 18-21 who are placed in the Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP). Starting in FY 2025-26, this funding will increase the monthly payment youth in SILPs receive, based on the cost of housing in the county where the youth lives.
$19 Million to Increase College Access and Affordability for Foster Youth
The 2023-24 California state budget includes increased funding for financial aid for foster youth across all three public postsecondary systems. Language governing this funding was included in SB 117, the higher education budget trailer bill. The fact sheet below provides an explanation of the changes made to the Middle Class Scholarship and Student Success Completion Grant financial aid programs for foster youth.
$100 Million to Reduce Homelessness Among Youth
The 2023-24 California state budget includes $1 billion for round 5 of 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, which in 2023-24 is $100 million. A number of policy changes were made to round 5 of HHAP to promote stronger regional collaboration, increase local accountability, and prioritize permanent housing.