Cortese’s Guaranteed Income for Homeless Youth Proposal to Become District Program

Senator Cortese (D-Silicon Valley) made the following statement when SB 1341 failed to garner enough votes to clear the California Assembly Committee on Higher Education today:

I am deeply disappointed that this bill to serve our most vulnerable young people won’t be moving forward. While this is an unexpected obstacle, we will not let inaction persist to the detriment of our future generation.

“Every year in California we are graduating our students into homelessness.

“Nowhere are the true depths of generational poverty and our wealth gap more evident than right here in our own community as was displayed in the recent release of this year’s Silicon Valley Pain Index published by San Jose State University.

“To this end, I am announcing a partnership with Supervisor Susan Ellenberg to bring the CalSOAR program to my home County to serve our students and build on the success of the Santa Clara County Transition-Aged Youth Basic Income Program.”

Senate Bill 1341, the California Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (CalSOAR) Guaranteed Income Program, was introduced to provide guaranteed direct cash assistance to homeless youth in grade 12 – to combat what’s known as the “summer melt”, so that students can exit poverty and have access to a higher education. 

Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg has agreed to introduce an item before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to move forward the framework proposed in SB 1341 as a pilot program to serve unhoused students in Santa Clara County.

 “The success of Santa Clara County’s current guaranteed income pilot for foster youth demonstrates that we should continue to implement this type of resource for our County’s underserved children,” said Supervisor and Board Vice President Susan Ellenberg. “I am looking forward to introducing this proposal to my colleagues after the July Board recess to show the State that providing unhoused high school students with guaranteed income sets them up for future success. As a former school board trustee, I remember the extent to which resources for unhoused high school students were limited. I became a County Supervisor to ensure all kids have the opportunity for self-sufficiency.”

According to Census Data (DataQuest), there were approximately 15,000 students experiencing homelessness who were enrolled in the 12th grade in California during the 2020-21 academic year. Experts report that a majority of these youth aspire to attend post-secondary education and an overwhelming majority (over 90%) wish to pursue careers that require some form of postsecondary education.