Assemblywoman Luz Rivas to Assist California’s Homeless Families

Monday, November 26, 2018

Assemblywoman Rivas leads the charge to aid homeless families through new funding, housing, and services

(SACRAMENTO) –Assemblywoman Luz Rivas has been convening stakeholder meetings with California State Agencies, the County of Los Angeles and Advocates to discuss issues impacting homeless families. It quickly became clear that funding targeted for homeless families should be a top priority. “This is why I plan on funding and restructuring a long dormant program that was established as a result of Proposition 1C, of 2006, to incentivize the development of multifamily housing for homeless families,” Rivas said.

According to the California Department of Education, California has well over 200,000 homeless children. The Assemblywoman from Pacoima was shocked after learning that her alma mater, Telfair Avenue Elementary School, has by far the highest rate of students considered homeless in the LA Unified School District. “When roughly 24 percent of students in any California community, like Telfair, are considered homeless, we have to tell ourselves the state must do better,” Rivas emphasized.

Unfortunately, California underfunds the Department of Education’s Homeless Coordinator positions who manage liaisons that identify and interact directly with homeless families. Other states have prioritized funding for these positions. For example, New York has 12 Homeless Coordinators, and Texas has 9, while California has only 2. “Funding new positions is essential if we are to better identify, assist, and deliver services for homeless families” Rivas explained.

For these reasons, Assemblywoman Rivas plans to introduce legislation when the Legislature reconvenes in December that will: 1) Provide funding to incentivize the development of multifamily housing for homeless families with children, 2) adequately fund positions to hire new Homeless Program Coordinators, 3) require all schools to perform outreach to better identify homeless youth, and 4) add the California Department of Education to the list of stakeholders on the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council.

“This is a problem we cannot ignore. We can’t turn a blind eye anymore, especially when many of these schools are in disadvantaged communities that tend to have a large percentage of students of color. Studies have clearly shown that a stable home environment is critical to educational success.  When students are successful in school it increases their economic mobility and gives them a future to believe in” said Rivas.

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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.

CONTACT: Elissa Ouchida, (916) 319-2039, Elissa.ouchida@asm.ca.gov