Press Releases

Friday, January 17, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) reintroduces legislation to identify California homeless students, so they can receive the resources they need to succeed. “We can’t provide homeless children assistance if we are not identifying them in the first place,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1937 is a continuation of previous legislation, AB 16, which sought to establish a comprehensive policy solution to assist local communities that are struggling to identify, and provide services to homeless families with children, but was vetoed last year. AB 1937 will create three geographically located County Offices of Education to develop Regional Technical Assistance Centers, to implement best practices used for identifying and connecting homeless students to services. Additionally, this legislation will create a standardized process for identifying homeless children across all of our school systems.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas jointly led an audit looking into local and state policies used to identify and provide support to children experiencing homelessness. The California State Auditor found California’s K-12 education system has been ineffective at identifying and providing supportive services for homeless youth. The State has identified at least 200,000 homeless children, yet 400 school districts have failed to report a single homeless child. In response to the scathing report issued by the Auditor, AB 1937 incorporates key recommendations from the audit to ensure schools administer an annual housing questionnaire to identify homeless pupils so no child is left behind.

“The math does not add up,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “AB 1937 will identify homeless children who are hidden in plain sight at our public schools, so the state can deliver resources more effectively. The State Auditor’s report concluded that California is not adequately meeting the federal mandate to identify homeless students. It means nothing to be the state with the 5th largest economy, if we are failing our children by continuing to allow them to slip through the cracks. One homeless child, is one too many. We need to show these kids that we care, that they matter, and that we want them to succeed.”

“Student homelessness is not an issue that will simply go away if we pretend it isn’t happening,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “If students experiencing homelessness are not being identified, they are not getting access to the services they need to be successful. I am proud to have lead on the audit that produced many of these recommendations and look forward to partnering with Assemblymember Rivas to ensure California is adequately supporting students experiencing homelessness.”

According to UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools, there are 204,085 enrolled homeless students. The top 10 counties with enrolled homeless student are, Los Angeles (53,000), San Bernardino (24,300), Orange (24,200), Riverside (16,000), San Diego (15,300), Santa Barbara (8,700), Monterey (7,000), Sacramento (6,200), Kern (3,500), and Ventura (3,500). This data proves homelessness is a statewide problem and no longer confined to just our larger cities. While UCLA has been able to identify the state and county numbers on homeless pupils, California school districts are struggling to.

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

SACRAMENTOAssemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1922, which will require California students to learn the causes and effects of climate change. Under this bill, climate change education will be a coursework requirement for students in grades 1 through 6, and a graduation requirement for students in grades 7 through 12, starting 2025.

California is seen as a world leader when it comes to environmentalism. In the 1970s, California adopted the California Environmental Quality Act to provide some of the strictest environmental reviews on new infrastructure projects. In 2006, California established the first comprehensive greenhouse gas regulatory program in the United States, and this year the Governor set aside $12 billion over the next 5 years to combat climate change. California is committed to maintaining its leadership.

“Climate change needs to be a part of our day-to-day academic discussion. This past decade has already started with extreme climate incidents occurring across the globe. As the youth that will inherit the brunt of climate change effects, we need them to be a part of the solution,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “AB 1922 will educate, help prepare, and give our next generation the tools to shape their futures in the wake of our current climate crisis.”

Students will not be the only ones learning about climate change. A recent study by the Nature Climate Change found that teaching children about climate change in schools also significantly increased the parents’ concern over the issue. Additionally, a National Public Radio poll found that 80% of parents in the U.S. supported the teaching of climate change, and 86% of teachers believe climate change should be taught at schools.

 “Greta Thunberg, the 17 year old activist, ushered in a new energy to the climate movement. Our youth are ready to join the solution,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “As our federal government takes a step back from environmental protection, California and our children are stepping in.”

“Education is power and we must give our students the tools to tackle the climate crisis,” said Mary Creasman CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters. “Students across California are facing the dire impacts of our climate crisis—missing class due to wildfires, power outages and pollution concerns. They should be equipped with the education to help improve their future. We applaud Assemblywoman Luz Rivas for introducing AB 1922, which takes a step to empower and educate younger generations.” 

Italy has taken the lead on the world stage by requiring every grade in its public school system to study climate change. This comes at a time when our federal government continues to limit funding and roll back key environmental policy. In order for California to maintain its leadership, we must educate our future generations on how to create a sustainable future. 

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Friday, January 10, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), member of the Assembly Budget Committee, has issued the following statement on Governor Newsom’s budget release: 

“It is exciting to see that the Governor is again being fiscally responsible by paying down debt and long term obligations, and investing in our state’s Rainy Day Fund, while appropriating investments in critical programs from previous years to bolster our economy,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “I also applaud the Governor for exploring the creation of an Agency focused on housing and homelessness. I look forward to working closely with his Administration as the year progresses. Homelessness is at a health and human safety tipping point, and this is a critical step in the right direction to ending homelessness.”

“The Governor’s proposed budget incorporates several key issues affect California including:

  • Significant investments to help local governments meeting housing production goals
  • Funding for 10,000 additional full-day/full-year preschool slots and subsidizing childcare for California’s working families
  • Making prescription drugs affordable
  • Expanding workforce development through grants and training in high need industries such as for trade, technology, and education
  • Prioritizing special education teacher recruitment and retention
  • Broadening Medi-Cal eligibility for undocumented individuals 65 years and older
  • Bolstering the State’s emergency preparedness and response
  • Prioritizing computer science education to keep California’s workforce globally competitive

I look forward to working with the Governor, Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting, and my colleagues to develop a state budget that continues to exemplify the values of all Californians,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.  

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

SACRAMENTOAssemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) held a press rally to introduce the California Youth Empowerment Act, with youth advocates, and students from across the state, to establish the first-ever statewide youth advisory body to the state government.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1858 establishes a youth advisory commission that will empower underrepresented youth with opportunities to be civically engaged in California. The duties of the Commission will include policy development, community engagement, and development of our youth to promote civic engagement, education, social equality, human and social services, workforce development, and public safety. At least half of the appointed commissioners must have experienced youth homelessness, foster care, juvenile incarceration, or have special needs.

“Youth today are more digitally and socially connected than ever. As our social and political climate evolves, we are starting to see an abundance of responsible, young and concerned individuals effectively utilize social media platforms to create a globally interactive forum to mobilize their peers on urgent matters. Through education, responsible journalism, and the interconnectivity of our social media platforms, our youth are well-informed, engaged, and empowered to participate in our democracy,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “As a member of the Legislature, I believe that it is our responsibility to engage and listen to the next generation before making policy decisions that directly impact them. The voices of our youth are too important to California to be left out, and I believe that a statewide, student-led advisory board for youth is necessary.”

We have at least 40 California commissions advising our government on important issues throughout out state, and none of them are led by our state’s youth. This means, we are not hearing the voices of 12.5 million Californians under the age of 24 when the state makes critical policy decisions affecting their lives.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas was joined by her principal co-author of AB 1858, Senator Scott Wiener, and the sponsors of legislation, including the California Association of Student Councils, California Coalition of Youth, California Youth Connection, Bay Area Student Activists of San Francisco, and San Francisco Youth Commission.

“I am honored to support a bill written by one of our former interns, Jason Chen, giving young people a stronger voice in our legislative process,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), a principal co-author of the bill. “Jason demonstrates the power of youth leadership, and I am deeply proud and excited to see what the Youth Commission will accomplish. This bill will give the next generation a way to advocate on the issues that matter most to them — from the youth homelessness epidemic, to climate change, to youth incarceration, and more.”

“Young people have proven that they are more than ready to engage in important conversations about the most pressing issues facing our state. They’ve marched to protest gun violence in our schools and they’ve rallied to raise awareness about the climate crisis,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley). “I am proud to co-author AB 1858 to ensure that young Californians continue to make their voices heard in the State Capitol and grow as civic leaders.”

“The California Youth Empowerment is valued by, written by, and championed by a diverse coalition of young people from across California. It’s time for us to recognize and uplift the power of the youth voice to make California more effective, equitable, and representative,” Jason Chen, California Association of Student Councils.

“The Youth Empowerment Act is California’s opportunity to ensure policies and programs of the future respect the lives, stories, and voices of today’s youth. This is an opportunity to create rapid transformation for equitable opportunities and social mobility for Californian youth to sustain and advance a thriving and progressive California for all,” said Jevon Wilkes, California Coalition for Youth.

"The California Youth Empowerment Act will provide youth the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their fellow peers through engaging in the legislative and policy processes. I am passionate about this bill because it will empower the youth in California's foster care system. This Act will provide genuine insight to improve the everyday lives of all youth in California,” said Natasha Sosa, California Youth Connection.

"The San Francisco Youth Commission is excited to see the model of a legally established, institutionally diverse youth commission established at the state level in California. As the oldest local youth commission in the country, we see every week the value of a direct link between policymakers and the frequently underrepresented youth in our schools and communities, and we look forward to working with our fellow advocates to pass the California Youth Empowerment Act," said Calvin Quick, San Francisco Youth Commission.

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Monday, January 6, 2020

ARLETA – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) issues a statement on reports that a privately operated migrant detention facility has filed an application to open a new detention center in Arleta.

“The Trump Administration has a proven track record of the inhumane and grotesque treatment of putting children and families in cages with inadequate services. Children have died behind these bars. I adamantly oppose the criminalization and commercialization of putting children in cages in our community. Private prisons to detain innocent children have no place in a humane and civil society, and does not reflect California’s values.” 

The property located at 9120 Woodman Avenue, Arleta, CA 91331, is being considered for development as a privately operated detention or holding facility. This facility is intended to house unaccompanied minors who have been detained for entering the county without immigration documentation.

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Monday, January 6, 2020

SACRAMENTOAssemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) introduced legislation to create California’s first State Office on Homelessness. Assembly Bill (AB) 1845 creates a Secretary on Housing Insecurity and Homelessness to oversee the Office to End Homelessness, which will include the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council and be located within the Governor’s Office.

AB 1845 will require state department/agency staff to work closely to: standardize housing and services rooted in evidence-based housing, services models and standard agreement requirements, fund housing navigation for people at risk of homelessness upon discharge from state-funded institutions, issue funding to local jurisdictions through a unified funding application, and issue applications in consideration of timing of federal funding, to create a seamless process.   

“This Governor and Legislature are leading the effort to solve the State’s homeless crisis and we have shown our commitment by appropriating billions of dollars to tackle homelessness. Despite these efforts, recent reports show that there is ongoing and rapid rise in homelessness,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “With the growing number of children, families, and individuals continuously falling into homelessness, California must significantly alter its current approach to coordinating services between our state, federal, and local governments. Our existing approach to homelessness has failed to keep pace with the increasing numbers of those becoming homeless.”

“This has truly reached a human health and safety crisis tipping point,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.

According to the Annual Homeless Report issued by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California homeless population has increased by 16.4% or 21,306 individuals in the last year alone. According to a report conducted by University of California, Los Angeles, there are at least 200,000 homeless children in California.

“At this point, our response to homelessness has been all spokes and no hub” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas referring to the fact that the state has no central entity with the resources, authority, or the coordination that is required to effectively curb the rise in homelessness. “We know these programs are not as effective as they could be, and that we could be reaching a greater amount of people. By creating a designated office that coordinates communication and partnerships between our state departments and agencies, and with our local governments, the state can bolster its efforts to help communities that are struggling to respond on a local level.”

“California gets big things done when we work together. To do that, we need to be organized and coordinated-and when it comes to ending homelessness, that is crucial now more than ever. In 2018, California funded more than two dozen different programs at half a dozen different state departments, and Californians cannot afford for bureaucracy to leave their neighbors unsheltered. That’s why Housing California is proud to sponsor the effort of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas to create an Office to End Homelessness. Working arm in arm with Governor Newsom’s administration and stakeholders around the state, we’ll create a single focal point, channeling efforts through a team held accountable, providing the leadership and direction Californians need. This reform is essential to achieving our goal of ensuring all Californians have an affordable place to call home,” said Christopher Martin, Legislative Advocate, Housing California.

“CSH is thrilled to be working with Assemblywoman Luz Rivas on this important bill. We know from other states‘ experiences that strengthening our leadership structure and coordinating our resources will not only make our  taxpayer dollars stretch further, but will also ensure each dollar is going toward solutions we know work to end homelessness. We applaud Assemblymember Rivas and her staff for continuing to prioritize Californians experiencing homelessness,” said Sharon Rapport, Director of California State Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing. =

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039

Thursday, November 7, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) partnered with Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember James Ramos (D–Highland) to request an audit looking into the state’s existing policies that are used to identify and provide support to youth experiencing homelessness. Today, the State Auditor issued a scathing report that found California’s K-12 education system has been ineffective at identifying and providing supportive services for homeless youth.

“My office knew something was wrong when we discovered over one-quarter of California’s schools reported having zero homeless students. The results of the audit confirms what my staff had heard last year when we convened a roundtable discussion with stakeholders and state agencies. Earlier this year, I introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 16, which directly aligns with the concerns raised in the Auditor’s report, and would have established policies to ensure there was a standardized process to oversee and identify homeless youth,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “While the Governor vetoed AB 16, given the results of the audit, it shows that we were on the right track, and I am even more committed to advancing legislation to help these children.”

AB 16 sought to create three Geographic County Offices of Education to develop Regional Assistance Centers (Centers). These Centers would have provided critical assistance to local governments, and provided them with needed resources to identify homeless families with children, and connect them with the services necessary to get back on their feet. In this year’s budget, prior to the release of the audit, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas was able to secure new positions for Statewide Homeless Coordinators to assist local communities.

“Student homelessness is not an issue that will simply go away if we pretend it isn’t happening,” said Assemblymember David Chiu. “If students experiencing homelessness are not being identified, they are not getting access to the services they need to be successful. I am grateful for the State Auditor’s work to identify ways we can all do more to support students experiencing homelessness.”

“While the State Auditor’s report shows we have much work to do, I am hopeful this will frame our efforts in the legislature and in our communities. When we can communicate best practices at the state and local level to identify students experiencing homelessness, and link those students and families with the resources they need, we can break the cycle of homelessness for at-risk students and families in the Inland Empire and across California,” said Assemblymember James Ramos.

“Our current system is systematically flawed and we are allowing our most at-risk youth, especially in communities of color, to slip through the cracks,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “I look forward to continue working with my colleagues and the Governor’s office when I reintroduce AB 16 in the upcoming year to better align my policy to the recommendations stemming from this audit. I want to thank my friends and colleagues, Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember James Ramos, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond for partnering with me this past year to bring visibility to the hidden homeless population.”

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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