After almost three years of remote work, JBAY is back in-person at the State Capitol in Sacramento and ready to make the case to legislators about the importance of helping youth who have been in foster care or homeless.
JBAY Youth Advocate Cody Van Felden recently testified to the Senate Budget Committee and then conducted a series of meetings with Associate Director of Housing and Health Anna Johnson.
“Being in person and seeing all the familiar faces at the Capitol has tripled the fuel I have for these very important topics and conversations,” said Cody after a long day of meetings. “I am receiving an enormous amount of positive energy and am beyond thrilled to help in the fight for youth to receive more help and more resources.”
Anna and Cody will be busy this year, together with the full JBAY team. JBAY is sponsoring four ambitious policy proposals.
The first is Assembly Bill 525, authorized by Assemblymember Phil Ting. This proposal will increase housing affordability for youth in foster care by increasing the foster care rate based on the local cost of housing.
JBAY’s second proposal is Assembly Bill 789, which will help foster youth and others maintain their financial aid by reforming Satisfactory Academic Progress, a well-intentioned but outdated policy that disproportionately harms low-income students of color. JBAY is working as part of a strong coalition of organizations to make this important change, including The Institute for College Access and Success, uAspire, UNITE-LA, the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, the University of California Student Association, the Cal State Student Association and NextGen Policy.
JBAY’s third proposal aims to increase college affordability for foster youth by modifying the state’s Middle Class Scholarship to meet the needs of foster youth. This proposal, Senate Bill 307, is authored by Senators Mike McGuire and Senator Angelique Ashby. If successful, it would fully cover the full cost of college attendance for every foster youth in California.
JBAY’s final proposal is Assembly Bill 799, authored by Assemblymember Luz Rivas and co-sponsored by Housing California, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the San Diego Regional Task Force to End Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This important proposal seeks to sustain recent state investments to address youth homelessness, which have reduced youth homelessness by 21% since 2020.
According to JBAY Executive Director Amy Lemley, achieving these goals will be a challenge given the state budget deficit. “The fact is there are many worthy competing priorities. At JBAY, we do our best to make a strong case by using the best evidence, developing effective proposals, working in coalition with youth and partnering with effective legislators. We know the stakes are high for youth if we fail and we’re going to do our best to make sure that we don’t.”