California Members of Congress Urge Governor Brown to Expand Homeless Student Program
Washington, DC – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), joined by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Mike Honda (CA-17), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Scott Peters (CA-52) and 18 other California House Members, urged Governor Jerry Brown to address the unmet needs of California’s nearly 300,000 homeless schoolchildren through the expansion of the School Supplies for Homeless Children Fund. The fund assists in providing basic material needs to homeless students. In a letter to Governor Brown the Members encouraged creating a dedicated funding stream for the program through the use of unobligated federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds.
“In the Bay Area, housing costs continue to soar while wages remain stagnant. Today, too many hardworking families find themselves in dire financial circumstances and unable to meet their child’s basic material needs. Unfortunately, children in school cannot focus on their schoolwork when needs like socks, shoes, or hygiene items remain unmet. California can make a difference by expanding this program and giving these students and their families a better shot at success,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.
Over the last five years, there has been a 54 percent increase in the number of students experiencing homelessness. This figure does not include an estimated 30,000 additional homeless children in preschool.
The homeless children fund, created in 2014 by a bill authored by then-Senator DeSaulnier, currently receives voluntary contributions from individuals on personal income tax returns. To date, the fund has received a 153 percent match from private resources. However, this translates to only $1 to $1.76 per homeless child annually, which exacerbates the need to provide a permanent funding solution. By expanding the program as set forth in the letter, each homeless student could receive up to $16.80.