A state lawmaker from the South Bay is proposing a guaranteed income for recent high school graduates who are homeless.
California Sen. Dave Cortese, who represents Silicon Valley, has authored Senate Bill 1341, which would provide unhoused high school graduates a $1,000-a-month stipend for five months to allow them time to enroll in college, start a vocational program or get a job.
The bill would help 15,000 unhoused students in California. Cortese says the guaranteed income would help break the cycle of homelessness for students such as Salma Pacheco.
"Now, instead of meeting everyone here, you’re meeting everyone at the same level so you can excel further and beyond," said Pacheco, a formerly unhoused student. "Versus I’m going to sacrifice my study time so I can find a comfortable place to sleep that night. Or I’m going to sacrifice going to class because I have to work in order to feed myself."
Cortese added: "These are young people whose families are homeless. These are not young people wandering the streets without a family. This is a generational situation, and we are on the brink, as they graduate from high school, of sending another human being into permanent or semi-permanent homelessness."
Cortese added that basic income programs that allow recipients to decide how best to use the money have a proven track record in Santa Clara County, Stockton and in the state foster care system.
SB 1341 will next be heard by the California Senate Human Services Committee.