2SHB 1436

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of March 23, 2015

Title: An act relating to homeless youth prevention and protection.

Brief Description: Concerning homeless youth prevention and protection.

Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Kagi, Zeiger, Robinson, Walsh, Walkinshaw, Pettigrew, Senn, Johnson, Orwall, Ortiz-Self, Reykdal, Carlyle, Gregerson, Appleton, Fitzgibbon, Ormsby, Clibborn, Jinkins, Bergquist, Goodman, McBride, Pollet, Riccelli and Kilduff; by request of Governor Inslee).

Brief History: Passed House: 3/04/15, 62-36.

Committee Activity: Human Services, Mental Health & Housing: 3/24/15.


Staff: Alison Mendiola (786-7444)

Background: Programs for Street and Homeless Youth. The Children's Administration of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) administers a number of programs regarding the care of street and homeless youth. For example, there are the following:

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) operates the Independent Youth Housing Program by providing rental assistance and case management for eligible youth who have aged out of the state foster care system. These funds are intended to assist in meeting the state goal of ensuring that all such youth avoid experiencing homelessness by having access to decent, appropriate, and affordable homes in a healthy, safe environment. Participating youth must meet the following criteria to be eligible for assistance: participants must be at least 18 years of age, must have been a dependent of the state at any time during the four-month period preceding the youth's eighteenth birthday, and must have not yet reached the age of 23. Priority must be given to individuals who were dependents of the state for at least one year.

Home Security Fund. There is a $40 document recording fee surcharge. The revenue generated supports homeless housing and assistance programs, and the revenue is shared between the county that collected the revenue and the state. The state's share is deposited into the Home Security Fund. Commerce uses these monies to fund a number of homeless housing programs, with at least 45 percent of the state's share set aside for the use of private rental housing payments.

Homeless Families Services Fund. This fund exists within the custody of the State Treasurer and includes a one-time appropriation by the Legislature, private contributions, and all other sources deposited into the fund. Commerce may expend monies from the fund to provide state matching funds for housing-based supportive services for homeless families over a period of at least ten years.

Summary of Bill: The bill as referred to committee not considered.

Summary of Bill (Proposed Amendment): The goal of the Legislature is to reduce and prevent youth and young adult homelessness by increasing and improving priority service areas: (1) stable housing; (2) family reconciliation; (3) permanent connections; (4) education and employment opportunities; and (5) social and emotional wellbeing. This act is meant to enhance the work and services to homeless youth and runaway youth under the Becca laws.

Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (Office). The Office is created. The measurable goals of the Office are to measurably decrease the number of homeless youth and young adults, identify the causes of youth homelessness, and measurably increase permanency rates among homeless youth caused by a youth's separation from family or a legal guardian. The Office must provide management and oversight of HOPE Centers, crisis residential centers, and street youth services. The Office also gathers data and outcome measures, initiates data-sharing agreements, develops specific recommendations and timelines to address funding, policy, and practice gaps with the state system, and increases system integration and coordinates efforts to prevent state systems from discharging youth into homelessness.

Advisory Committee. An advisory committee must consult with the Office regarding funding, policy, and practice gaps within and among state programs. The advisory committee is comprised of 12 members including at least two legislators, at least two parent advocates, at least one representative from law enforcement, service providers, advocates, and other stakeholders knowledgeable in the provision of services to homeless youth and young adults, including the prevention of youth and young adult homelessness, the dependency system, and family reunification. The members are appointed by the Governor except the legislators are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. The Office must be operational no later than January 1, 2016. By December 1, 2016, the Office must submit a report to the Governor and Legislature to inform and provide recommendations regarding funding, policy, and best practices in the five service areas identified.

Other changes made by the Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act include the following:

The Joint Legislature and Audit Review Committee must conduct a review of state-funded programs that serve unaccompanied homeless youth to determine what performance measures exist, what statutory reporting requirements exist, and whether there is reliable data on the ages of youth served, length of stay, and effectiveness of program exit and reentry.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's biennial report on data of homeless students is expanded to include the number, academic performance, and educational outcomes of identified unaccompanied homeless students enrolled in public schools.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: Yes.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.