Currrent as of February 4, 2022
Senate Bill No. 918
An act to amend Section 8257 of, and to add Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8259) to Division 8 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to homeless youth.
[ Approved by Governor September 27, 2018. Filed with Secretary of State September 27, 2018. ]
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
SB 918, Wiener. Homeless Youth Act of 2018.
Existing law establishes various programs, including, among others, the Emergency Housing and Assistance Program, homeless youth emergency service pilot projects, and Housing First and the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, to provide assistance to homeless persons. Existing law establishes the council to oversee the implementation of the Housing First guidelines and regulations, and, among other things, identify resources, benefits, and services that can be accessed to prevent and end homelessness in California.
This bill would require the council to assume additional responsibilities, including setting specific, measurable goals aimed at preventing and ending homelessness among youth in the state and defining outcome measures and gathering data related to those goals. The bill would also require the council, in order to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to young people experiencing homelessness, to coordinate with certain stakeholders and, to the extent that funding is made available, provide technical assistance and program development support.
Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program: no
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Homeless Youth Act of 2018.
Section 8257 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
(a) Within 180 days of the effective date of the measure adding this chapter, the Governor shall create a Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council.
(b) The council shall have the following goals:
(1) To oversee implementation of this chapter.
(2) To identify mainstream resources, benefits, and services that can be accessed to prevent and end homelessness in California.
(3) To create partnerships among state agencies and departments, local government agencies, participants in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program, federal agencies, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, nonprofit entities working to end homelessness, homeless services providers, and the private sector, for the purpose of arriving at specific strategies to end homelessness.
(4) To promote systems integration to increase efficiency and effectiveness while focusing on designing systems to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, including unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age.
(5) To coordinate existing funding and applications for competitive funding. Any action taken pursuant to this paragraph shall not restructure or change any existing allocations or allocation formulas.
(6) To make policy and procedural recommendations to legislators and other governmental entities.
(7) To identify and seek funding opportunities for state entities that have programs to end homelessness, including, but not limited to, federal and philanthropic funding opportunities, and to facilitate and coordinate those state entities’ efforts to obtain that funding.
(8) To broker agreements between state agencies and departments and between state agencies and departments and local jurisdictions to align and coordinate resources, reduce administrative burdens of accessing existing resources, and foster common applications for services, operating, and capital funding.
(9) To serve as a statewide facilitator, coordinator, and policy development resource on ending homelessness in California.
(10) To report to the Governor, federal Cabinet members, and the Legislature on homelessness and work to reduce homelessness.
(11) To ensure accountability and results in meeting the strategies and goals of the council.
(12) To identify and implement strategies to fight homelessness in small communities and rural areas.
(13) To create a statewide data system or warehouse that collects local data through Homeless Management Information Systems, with the ultimate goal of matching data on homelessness to programs impacting homeless recipients of state programs, such as Medi-Cal (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) and CalWORKs (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(14) Setting goals to prevent and end homelessness among California’s youth.
(15) Working to improve the safety, health, and welfare of young people experiencing homelessness in the state.
(16) Increasing system integration and coordinating efforts to prevent homelessness among youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system.
(17) Leading efforts to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to young people experiencing homelessness.
(18) Identifying best practices to ensure homeless minors who may have experienced maltreatment, as described in Section 300, are appropriately referred to, or have the ability to self-refer to, the child welfare system.
(c) (1) The Governor shall appoint up to 17 members of the council as follows:
(A) The Secretary of Business, Consumer Services, and Housing, or his or her designee who shall serve as chair of the council.
(B) A representative from the Department of Transportation.
(C) A representative from the Department of Housing and Community Development.
(D) A representative of the State Department of Social Services.
(E) A representative of the California Housing Finance Agency.
(F) A representative of the State Department of Health Care Services.
(G) A representative of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(H) A representative of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(I) A representative from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee in the Treasurer’s office.
(J) A representative of the Victim Services Program within the Division of Grants Management within the Office of Emergency Services.
(K) A formerly homeless person who lives in California.
(L) A formerly homeless youth who lives in California.
(M) Two representatives of local agencies or organizations that participate in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program.
(N) State advocates or other members of the public or state agencies, according to the Governor’s discretion.
(2) The Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the Assembly shall each appoint one representative of the council from two different stakeholder organizations.
(3) The council may, at its discretion, invite stakeholders, individuals who have experienced homelessness, members of philanthropic communities, and experts to participate in meetings or provide information to the council.
(d) The council shall hold public meetings at least once every quarter.
(e) The members of the council shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
(f) Within existing funding, the council may establish working groups, task forces, or other structures from within its membership or with outside members to assist it in its work. Working groups, task forces, or other structures established by the council shall determine their own meeting schedules.
(g) The members of the council shall serve without compensation, except that members of the council who are, or have been, homeless may receive reimbursement for travel, per diem, or other expenses.
(h) The Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency shall provide staff for the council.
(i) The members of the council may enter into memoranda of understanding with other members of the council to achieve the goals set forth in this chapter, as necessary, in order to facilitate communication and cooperation between the entities the members of the council represent.
(j) There shall be an executive director of the council under the direction of the Secretary of Business, Consumer Services, and Housing.
(k) The council shall be under the direction of the executive director and staffed by employees of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.
Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8259) is added to Division 8 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
CHAPTER 7. Homeless Youth Act of 2018
The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a) Runaway and homeless youth are young people 12 to 24 years of age, inclusive, who have the least access to essential opportunities and supports.
(b) The prevalence of runaways and homelessness among youth is staggering. Studies suggest that between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth up to 24 years of age in the United States experience homelessness every year. A disproportionate number of young people experiencing homelessness are youth of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
(c) California has the second highest rate of unsheltered young people experiencing homelessness in the nation, and the number is growing.
(d) Thirty-one percent of all young people experiencing homelessness in the United States live in California, yet two-thirds of the state’s counties lack basic services for young people experiencing homelessness, including shelter, mental and behavioral services, family maintenance and strengthening, and substance abuse treatment programs.
(e) Research indicates that young people experiencing homelessness are more likely to have used or to begin using drugs and alcohol due to their experiences of trauma and abuse prior to becoming homeless or as a result of homelessness, including commercial sexual exploitation.
(f) With the adoption by the voters of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, there is an opportunity for new funding to support various programs and services for young people experiencing homelessness, including those with substance use disorders.
(g) In furthering the goal to prevent youth homelessness, the Legislature has created the Homeless Youth Act of 2018 to improve prevention and early intervention support services, low barrier and diverse housing opportunities, and posthousing and followup services for young people experiencing homelessness, including those with substance use disorders.
The following definitions apply for purposes of this chapter:
(a) “Act” means the Homeless Youth Act of 2018 enacted by this chapter.
(b) “Continuum of care” has the same meaning as defined in Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) “Council” means the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council as described in Section 8257.
(d) “Homeless youth” means an unaccompanied youth between 12 and 24 years of age, inclusive, who is experiencing homelessness, as defined in subsection (2) of Section 725 of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11434a(2)). “Homeless youth” includes unaccompanied youth who are pregnant or parenting.
(a) The council shall set and measure progress towards goals to prevent and end homelessness among youth in California by doing both of the following:
(1) Setting specific, measurable goals aimed at preventing and ending homelessness among youth in the state. These goals shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(A) Measurably decreasing the number of young people experiencing homelessness in the state.
(B) Measurably increasing permanency rates among young people experiencing homelessness by decreasing the length and occurrences of young people experiencing homelessness caused by a youth’s separation from family or a legal guardian.
(C) Decreasing the duration and frequency of experiences of homelessness among California’s youth.
(D) Decreasing barriers to services through promoting cross-systems partnerships to expedite access to services, including social services, child welfare services, regional center services, and mental health services.
(2) Defining outcome measures and gathering data related to the goals.
(A) The council shall develop and collect data on county-level and statewide measures, including, but not limited to, the number of young people experiencing homelessness in California and their dependency status, delinquency status, family reunification status, housing status, program participation, and runaway status.
(B) Data collection and sharing among state and county agencies and service providers shall be a condition upon the receipt of any state funding for programs related to youth homelessness and its prevention. All recipients shall be required to share with the council any relevant data from their Homeless Management Information Systems. Data collection and sharing pursuant to this chapter shall be conducted and maintained in accordance with all applicable state and federal privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.
(C) The council shall seek data from any and all relevant sources, including the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), if available, in order to meet the requirements of this section.
(D) Providers of data shall do either of the following:
(i) Redact the names, dates of birth, and addresses of victims of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code, prior to reporting data to the council.
(ii) Obtain informed consent from a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code and in accordance with all applicable state and federal confidentiality laws, before disclosing confidential information about that individual pursuant to this section.
(b) In order to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to young people experiencing homelessness, the council shall do both of the following:
(1) Coordinate with young people experiencing homelessness, the State Department of Social Services, other appropriate state and county agencies and departments, the state advisory group established pursuant to Section 1785, and other stakeholders to inform policy, practices, and programs.
(2) To the extent that funding is made available, provide technical assistance and program development support to increase capacity among new and existing service providers to best meet statewide needs, particularly in areas where services for young people experiencing homelessness have not been established, and provide support to service providers in making evidence-informed and data-driven decisions.
California Homeless Laws 2018