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CA Senate Green Lights Guaranteed Income Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2022
Contact: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento
(785) 760-6567 | JuanRamiro.Sarmiento@younginvincibles.org

CA Senate Green Lights Guaranteed Income Bill

SB 1341 will provide Guaranteed Income to graduating high school seniors experiencing homelessness

(Sacramento, CA) – Moments ago, the California State Senate passed Senator Dave Cortese’s (D – Silicon Valley) Senate Bill 1341 which would establish the California Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (CalSOAR) program which would provide guaranteed income to 15,000 homeless graduating high school seniors. The bill passed a crucial hurdle and advanced through the Senate to now head to the General Assembly where Assemblymember Matt Haney (D – San Francisco) is the principal co-author.

Within California, there are over 270,000 youth experiencing homelessness, according to a 2020 report from the UCLA Center for Transformation of Schools. This number has increased 48% in the past decade and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to US Census Data, there are 15,000 homeless students in their senior year of high school, most of which will lose essential resources available within the K-12 system.

Over 90% of these students aspire to attend postsecondary education, however, only half will actually reach that goal. This is due to a phenomenon known as the “Summer Melt,” which describes vulnerable students who have every intention of attending college but never enroll, due to a lack of financial resources. SB 1341 combats Summer Melt by employing Guaranteed Income – a proven tool to fight poverty – in order to assist the graduating homeless seniors as they transition to postsecondary education or career.

Senator Cortese has paved the way for Guaranteed Income programs in the State, beginning with SB 739 (2021), a first of its kind $35,000,000 investment into the “California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program” to serve California youth who are exiting the state’s extended foster care program, as well as pregnant women. SB 1341 will expand the state’s guaranteed income initiatives to incorporate the 15,000 graduating homeless youth.

In response, Sarah Bouabibsa, West Advocacy Manager for Young Invincibles issued the following statement:

“This is a major step toward breaking the cycle of poverty among the state’s over 15,000 high school seniors experiencing homelessness. The barriers that this student population faces only become harder to overcome once they graduate from high school. We are pleased that the State Senate has passed SB 1341, a program that uses direct cash assistance, a proven tool to break the poverty cycle. The challenges that young adults experiencing homelessness face can be insurmountable, especially during the transition period between high school graduation and higher education. For the qualifying 15,000 students, this bill is a monumental step toward reaching postsecondary education or career.

YI thanks Senator Cortese and Assemblymember Haney for their innovative leadership, and Economic Security Project Action for their commitment to lifting young adults out of poverty. As SB 1341 heads to the Assembly, we must keep pushing until it reaches the Governor’s desk and gets funded. Now is the time for us to invest in the most vulnerable students and empower them to build a future free of poverty.”

In response, Senator Dave Cortese (D–Silicon Valley) issued the following statement: “By eliminating barriers to higher education and creating more pathways for students, we can truly break cycles of poverty,” says Senator Cortese. “What we have seen is, when we trust these young people to make important financial decisions about their future, we empower them to take actionable steps to reach their goals.”

Principal co-author, Assemblymember Matt Haney (D – San Francisco) issued the following quote: “These young people are facing a fork in the road,” said Haney. “Our public school educators work hard and prepare their students to make sure they’re ready for college. If we can get them through the summer slump with a guaranteed income, then we’re setting them on a path to a college degree.”

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Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy and policy nonprofit organization focused on amplifying the voice of young people in the political process at the local, state, and federal levels. YI focuses on issues impacting young adults ages 18 to 34 in higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. Our offices include Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Texas. For more information, please contact Juan Ramiro Sarmiento at (785) 760-6567 or juan.sarmiento@younginvincibles.org