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The Imprint: CA Budget Boosts Higher Education & Housing for Foster Youth

Source: The Imprint

Despite a massive budget shortfall, California will increase spending on financial aid for foster youth attending California colleges, and offer more housing support to young adults who live in high-cost areas of the state and are aging out of the child welfare system.  

... On the housing front, a bill to increase rent payments for young adults in extended foster care failed to make it through the Legislature, but was revived in the budget by San Francisco Democrat Assemblymember Phil Ting, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee.

In an effort to combat the high rate of homelessness among young adults in extended foster care, state funds will soon cover a new supplement to the allowance for Supervised Independent Living Placements. This housing option, referred to as a SILP, provides 18- to 21-year-olds with a stipend for rent and other living expenses such as food and utilities. The youth find and secure their own living arrangements, which can be apartments with or without roommates, college dorms or rented rooms, but they must be inspected and approved by social workers.

The arrangements — relied upon by roughly 40% of these older foster youth — gives the young people financial support and a measure of independence as they enter adulthood. 

But SILP payments have failed to keep up with the cost of living. Currently, SILP participants receive $1,129 each month regardless of where in the state they live. That number has only increased by 41% over the past decade, failing to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of rent in most parts of the state during that time.

“The end result for many youth,” Ting’s office noted, “is a cycle of homelessness and falling deeper into poverty.”