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SB-568 Postsecondary education: student housing: College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/17/2019 12:40 PM
SB568:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 23, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 568


Introduced by Senators Portantino and Roth
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Gabriel)
(Coauthor: Senator Beall)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gipson)

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 66027.7 to the Education Code, relating to postsecondary education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 568, as amended, Portantino. Postsecondary education: student housing: College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program.
Under existing law, the 3 segments of public postsecondary education in this state are the University of California, under the administration of the Regents of the University of California, the California State University, under the administration of the Trustees of the California State University, and the California Community Colleges, under the administration of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. Existing law, known as the Donahoe Higher Education Act, establishes the missions and functions of these segments.
Existing law requires qualifying institutions, as defined in the Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant Program, other than the University of California, which is requested to do so, to designate a staff member who is employed within the financial aid office, or another appropriate office or department, of the institution to serve as a Homeless and Foster Student Liaison and to inform current and prospective students of the institution about student financial aid and other assistance available to homeless youth and current and former foster youth, as specified.
This bill would establish the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program, which would provide housing options for homeless students and would provide services to support homeless students in transitioning to stable housing and remaining enrolled in college, contingent upon the enactment of an appropriation of state funds for this purpose, to be implemented by the public segments of higher education if they choose to participate in the program. This bill would provide that funding is to be allocated to the participating segments based on the proportionate enrollment in each segment. Under the program, participating campuses would implement the specified program requirements with the funding provided to a participating campus based on the segmental systemwide offices’ determinations of need at each campus in their system. The bill would establish specific eligibility requirements for participating campuses and students. The bill would specify the total amount of any funding provided that may be used for administrative costs by the systemwide offices and by the campuses. The bill would require each participating campus to submit a report to the applicable systemwide office, and would require the systemwide offices to report on the program to the budget committees of the Legislature no later than February 15, 2021, and each year thereafter.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 66027.7 is added to the Education Code, to read:

66027.7.
 (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Continuum of care” means a system of outreach, engagement, and assessment; emergency shelter; rapid rehousing; transitional housing; permanent housing; and preventative strategies to address the various needs of homeless persons and persons at risk of homelessness for a specific geographic area, planned and provided for by the administrative agency identified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to distribute federal funding under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 as defined in Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations or a successor regulation.
(2) “Coordinated entry” means a process developed to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, referred to, and connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs, as further defined in Section 8401 of Title 25 of the California Code of Regulations or a successor regulation.
(3) “Cost of attendance” means the figure, as defined by Section 1087ll of Title 20 of the United States Code, published by a college or university that estimates the total cost of attending that particular school.
(4) “Homeless student” means a student enrolled at a California Community Colleges, California State University, or University of California institution, who, at the time of application for housing assistance under this section, meets the definition of homeless as defined in paragraph (2) of Section 725 of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11434a(2)), except the definition shall not be limited to children and youth.
(5) “Program” means the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program.
(6) “Rapid rehousing” means a process to offer an individual or family immediate, temporary assistance in order to help the household quickly transition to stable housing, which may include, but is not necessarily limited to, housing search assistance, one-time financial assistance to offset move-in costs, ongoing financial assistance as needed to bridge the gap between household income and housing cost, and other supportive services or linkages to community resources to help the household develop the capacity to sustain housing stability.
(b) Contingent on an appropriation of state funds for this purpose in the Budget Act or in another statute, the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program shall be established to provide housing options for homeless college and university students and to ensure that policies are in place at California’s public postsecondary education systems to support students experiencing homelessness in transitioning into stable housing and remaining enrolled in college. The systemwide office for each segment of public higher education choosing to participate in the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program shall receive a proportionate amount of the funding based on total student enrollment in each segment.
(c) The systemwide office for each segment of public postsecondary education that receives funding pursuant to this program shall develop a process for allocating available funds to campuses based on demonstrated need. To qualify for available funds, each participating campus or community college district shall have in place, at a minimum, all of following:
(1) An agreement with a local agency experienced with providing housing for homeless individuals to implement a rapid rehousing program that uses a Housing First model as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 8255 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(2) A system for identification of homeless students and referral into the housing program. At a minimum, the system shall include a process to verify the homeless status of a student by one of the following:
(A) A homeless services provider, as that term is defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 103577 of the Health and Safety Code.
(B) The director of a federal TRIO program, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs program, educational opportunity program and services program, educational opportunity program, or California Community Colleges or California State University disabled students services program, or a designee of that director.
(C) A campus homeless student liaison liaison, as designated by an institution of higher education to fulfill the requirements of Section 67003.5.
(D) A financial aid administrator for an institution of higher education.
(E) A student who is otherwise unable to obtain verification, who may self-certify that homeless status by signing an affidavit describing the student’s current living situation, which a college or university can then use to determine whether the student meets the program qualifications.
(3) An agreement with the local continuum of care agency that specifies how college students will be referred to the local coordinated entry system, which may include the campus serving as a coordinated entry access point for the local continuum of care.
(4) Two hours of training annually for each homeless student liaison, as established by Section 67003.5, to ensure that this individual is equipped to provide students with information regarding how to access housing assistance through the local coordinated entry system or comparable local mechanism.
(5) A policy to prioritize homeless students and foster youth students in the timing of the distribution of financial aid and to not charge late fees or interest on payments that are late due to delays in the distribution of financial aid.
(6) A policy that allows a student to appeal the loss of federal financial aid due to not meeting satisfactory academic progress standards. This policy shall provide that homelessness shall be considered a special circumstance for the purposes of determining whether a student meets satisfactory academic progress standards, as specified in Section 668.34 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, when considering the student’s eligibility for continued federal financial aid.
(7) A policy to review the financial aid status of each student who participates in college-focused rapid rehousing to determine if the student has been deemed an independent student due to being unaccompanied and homeless, as described in Section 1087vv of Title 20 of the United States Code, and is receiving all financial aid for which the student is eligible, including an evaluation of whether the student is eligible for an adjustment to the student’s cost of attendance.
(d) Program funds shall be used for the following activities:
(1) Agreements with housing providers to provide rapid rehousing to students.
(2) Housing-related supports for participants, which may include, but are not necessarily limited to, each of the following:
(A) Conducting an assessment of each student’s housing needs, including a plan to assist the student in meeting those needs.
(B) Providing housing navigation or search assistance including, but not limited to, recruitment of landlords, identification of shared housing opportunities, facilitation of access to on-campus housing and facilitation of connections with family members willing to provide safe, stable housing.
(C) Housing-related financial assistance, including rental application fees, rental assistance for up to 24 months, security deposit assistance, utility payments, purchase of basic furniture, moving cost assistance, and interim housing assistance while housing navigators are actively seeking permanent housing options for the student.
(D) Housing stabilization services, including ongoing tenant engagement, case management, public benefits advocacy, financial aid advocacy, credit repair assistance, employment support, life skills training, conflict mediation with landlords and neighbors, and referrals to other resources necessary to stabilize housing or support the student’s educational needs.
(3) A maximum of 10 percent of funds may be used by campuses for the direct costs to implement the program requirements described in this subdivision.
(4) A maximum of 5 percent of funds may be retained by the campus for indirect administrative activities related to program implementation.
(5) The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges may authorize the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, consistent with the requirements the board may impose, to designate up to 3 percent of the funds allocated to the California Community Colleges systemwide office for program administration.
(6) The Trustees of the California State University may authorize the Chancellor of the California State University, consistent with the requirements the board may impose, to designate up to 3 percent of the funds allocated to the California State University systemwide office for program administration.
(7) The Regents of the University of California may authorize the office of the President, consistent with the requirements the board may impose, to designate up to 3 percent of the funds allocated to the University of California systemwide office for program administration.
(e) The office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges may enter into an agreement with a community college district, and the office of the Chancellor of the California State University and the office of the President of the University of California may enter into an agreement with a campus in their respective systems, to provide additional funds to create rapid rehousing programs for students experiencing homelessness.
(f) A student must be enrolled at least half time, as defined by the institution, at the time of referral to the program. If a student falls below half-time enrollment subsequent to enrollment in the program, the student shall no longer be eligible for the program; however, the housing provider may continue to provide services authorized pursuant to this section, including financial assistance, for up to 6 months, if immediate discharge from the program would result in homelessness, provided that the total length of time the student receives rental assistance payments does not exceed 24 months. The local agency specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) shall assess the household’s ability to exit the program a minimum of one time per month during the transition period and shall work to facilitate the household’s transition from the program as quickly as possible.
(g) Each campus that receives funding to implement the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program shall submit a report annually to the applicable systemwide office. These systemwide offices shall compile each of their respective campus-based reports into a systemwide report, and submit the report to the budget committees of the Legislature no later than February 15, 2021, and annually thereafter. Each campus-based and systemwide report shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, all of the following:
(1) The name of the local agency that is implementing the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program.
(2) The number of students referred to the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program without duplication for those referred more than once in a year.
(3) The number of students served by the College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program without duplication for those served more than once in a year.
(4) The average length of time participants receive housing subsidies.
(5) A description of how the campus is serving the specific needs of students who are foster youth or former foster youth.
(6) The retention and graduation rates for program participants.
(7) Copies of the policies required pursuant to paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) of subdivision (c).
(h) This section shall be operative in a fiscal year only if funds have been appropriated for the purposes of this section for that fiscal year.