State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Sponsors Senator Cortese’s SB 333, Providing Temporary Guaranteed Income to Homeless High School Seniors

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has sponsored Senator Dave Cortese’s SB 333, legislation that represents a transformative investment that will prevent young people from descending into the devastating cycle of homelessness and its associated public expenses. SB 333 will give unhoused students exiting high school $1,000 a month for four months to help them enroll in college or enter the workforce. The measure will be heard tomorrow as a budget request in the Senate Budget Subcommittee 3 on Health and Human Services.

“We must become a village of support around our youth experiencing homelessness,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “By investing in the financial stability of our most vulnerable young adults, we ensure that none of our bright young minds will be hindered from future success simply because of their circumstances.”

“SB 333 will help California overcome a system that too often acts as a conveyor belt from child to adult homelessness,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “The only way to break this devastating cycle is through big thinking. This guaranteed income program is a strategic investment in young people and a pivotal investment in our economy. The time to act is now!”

California is home to approximately 270,000 homeless students within the K-12 school system, a figure that has surged by nearly half over the past decade. About 15,000 of these unhoused students are in the 12th grade. SB 333 would give these unhoused students finishing high school $1,000 a month for four months to help them enroll in college or enter the workforce.

SB 333 is supported by a diverse and growing coalition of supporters, including educators from across California and organizations that support economic development and underrepresented youth.

“Poverty should not be a reality for anyone, and especially our young people. SB 333 will be an opportunity to reroute the future for thousands of homeless California students,” said Mayor Michael Tubbs, Founder of End Poverty in California (EPIC). “Similar to the first mayor-led guaranteed income program that I ran in Stockton, SB 333 is an investment in our economy, an investment in education, and most importantly, an investment in our future.”

“In California, we’ve proven that guaranteed income works, that’s why it’s time to move from the pilots we helped design into full-fledged policies, like SB333,” said Teri Olle, Director of Economic Security California Action. “California's housing crisis is widespread, but for young people, homelessness threatens to disrupt their future by preventing them from transitioning from high school to college or career. If passed, this policy would intervene at a critical moment, offering the flexibility and stability of cash to help them pursue their goals. We applaud Superintendent Thurmond for his support, and thank Sen. Cortese for leading the charge on this important legislation.”

School districts extend additional support to homeless students through funding from the federal McKinney-Vento Act, but this aid is exclusively available to enrolled students. Meanwhile, while financial assistance is available to homeless youth pursuing higher education, these funds are only accessible after the student begins college in the fall. This creates a financial support gap between high school graduation and college enrollment, leaving unhoused students susceptible to a phenomenon known as Summer Melt. Faced with living challenges not experienced by more affluent peers, these students often fail to attend college and often continue life on the streets.

 A recent survey found that over 90 percent of unhoused youth aspired to pursue a career that required higher education. However, only 16 percent expressed confidence in their ability to attend or graduate from college within the next five years.

SB 333 will create a guaranteed income pilot program known as Success, Opportunity, & Academic Resilience (SOAR). The SOAR program will extend financial support to all unhoused high school seniors who have exited high school and lack a stable, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

Senator Cortese is dedicated to empowering vulnerable communities through guaranteed income programs that provide sustainable pathways into the middle class. In 2023, he introduced a guaranteed income program for homeless high school students in Santa Clara County. This program, set to begin this summer, was made possible after Senator Cortese secured a $3 million allocation in the State Budget Act of 2023. The program is also the result of a collaborative effort with Santa Clara County Board President and District 4 Supervisor Susan Ellenberg and District 2 Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

In 2020, Senator Cortese, then a Santa Clara County Supervisor, helped create a universal basic income program to serve transition-age foster youth in Santa Clara County. In 2021, that pilot program was scaled statewide under Senator Cortese’s SB 739.

Senator Dave Cortese represents Senate District 15, which encompasses most of San Jose and much of Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley. Visit Senator Cortese’s website: