Assembly bill would budget $15 million for homeless young adults

Matthew Medina, center, enjoys dinner at the Bridge to Home shelter on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal.
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Young adults experiencing homelessness would get more access to assistance and services under Assemblyman Tom Lackey’s (R-Palmdale) new budget proposal, his office announced Tuesday.

If passed, the budget would provide $15 million for homeless Californians in between 18 and 24 years old, including housing, independent living skill development, education and employment assistance, family engagement and interventions for up to three years per person.

“We are aiming to address the homeless youth crisis in a meaningful way by giving young people not only a roof over their head but also the skills and training necessary to get off the streets for good,” Lackey said during his testimony. “We need a solution for these kids who are suffering often through little fault of their own.”

The proposal is an addition to Lackey’s Assembly Bill 824 introduced in February, which would provide grant funding to qualifying nonprofits. This would operate out of the Homeless Youth and Exploitation Program through the Office of Emergency Services.

A bipartisan effort with Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson), the bill is supported by statewide youth advocacy groups, housing solution nonprofit organizations and churches, Lackey’s office said.

Kevin McAllister, Executive Director for the California Coalition for Youth, said his organization has worked for over three years to increase funds for homeless youth. This age group has the fastest growing homeless population, McAllister said.

“Transitional Housing provides time-limited, stable and safe accommodations for youth to help them move towards self-sufficiency,” McAllister said in a statement.

Assembly Bill 824 passed the Assembly Human Services Committee unanimously and will now go onto the Appropriations Committee.

This budget request will be voted on later in May in the budget subcommittee.

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