News Update

New bill would give homeless high school seniors $1,000 a month

Amid a spike in homelessness, California lawmakers recently proposed a bill that would grant $1,000 a month of guaranteed income to homeless high school seniors. 

Senate Bill 333, introduced by state Sen. Dave Cortese, D-San Jose, would provide the funds through a guaranteed income pilot program called Success, Opportunity, & Academic Resilience.

There are an estimated 270,000 homeless youths across the state — about 15,000 of whom are high school seniors, according to a 2020 report out of the University of California, Los Angeles. Under this proposal, students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence would receive five monthly installments of $1,000 from April to August 2024.

“We must stop graduating 15,000 high school students into homelessness each year,” Cortese said in a news release. “These payments, made with no strings attached, enable students to cover basic needs so they may take crucial steps toward college or career.”

One recent survey found that more than 90% of unhoused youth respondents aspired to a career goal that required further education, but only 16% believed they would be able to attend or graduate college within the next five years.

The program is intended only for the class of 2024, according to the bill, but could be extended. For the record, SB 333 is a reintroduction of SB 1341 (2022), which would also have provided direct cash assistance to students.