Governor Newsom Signs Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ Bills to Identify Homeless Students and Coordinate the State’s Response to Homelessness

For immediate release:

LOS ANGELES – Today, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) joined Governor Gavin Newsom for a bill signing ceremony at Alvarado Care Home in Los Angeles. Governor Newsom signed two of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ bills to address California’s ongoing homelessness crisis: Assembly Bills (AB) 27 and 1220. 

AB 27 creates a standardized process to identify California’s homeless students.

“One homeless child is one too many. AB 27 is the culmination of over three years of hard work to make sure we can support California’s most vulnerable population,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “Prior to the pandemic, we knew there were enough homeless children in California to fill LA’s Dodger Stadium almost five times over. We can only expect the number of homeless students to rise due to the economic effects of the pandemic. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing this critical piece of legislation and I look forward to the state getting to work immediately to identify homeless students who have been hiding in plain sight at our public schools for too many years.”

A recent UCLA study found that over 269,000 students in the K-12 system experienced homelessness in 2019. Yet, the California Department of Education reports that about 400 districts in California have not identified a single homeless student. This discrepancy led Assemblywoman Luz Rivas to introduce AB 16 in 2019 because of such a stark undercounting of homeless children in California, and the bill was ultimately vetoed due to costs not considered in the budget. This led the Assemblywoman to conduct an audit that evaluated local and state policies used to identify and provide support to children experiencing homelessness. The audit determined that California’s local educational agencies (LEAs) were not doing enough to identify students experiencing homelessness and reaffirmed the need for the state to identify homeless youth.

“Identifying children who may be homeless is the first step in ensuring they have a fighting chance to succeed in school and life,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “AB27 establishes a comprehensive and compassionate approach with support for children, families, and community at the root of the effort.”

Identifying homeless students enables the state to connect homeless students with assistance programs that may benefit them and their families. AB 27 will create three temporary and geographically located County Offices of Education throughout the state. These county offices will develop Regional Technical Assistance Centers (TAC) to implement best practices used for identifying and connecting homeless students to services. Funds from the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden back in March, will be allocated for the TACs.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ second signed bill addressing homelessness, AB 1220, reforms and restructures the state’s approach to addressing homelessness. These reforms address structural issues in our state policy that have created systemic miscommunication issues and a lack of coordination.

“I want to thank the Governor for signing AB 1220 and empowering the state’s efforts to coordinate its response to homelessness,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “This bill not only ensures proper authority exists to effectively organize solutions to homelessness but also holds the state accountable in its efforts to combat homelessness. With these two measures, I am confident we can begin the work to curb our escalating homelessness crisis.”

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