At Bill Wilson Center, advocacy is one of our core values. We believe in engaging with our communities and elected officials to support systems change that ends youth and young adult homelessness, and improves equity and justice for youth and families.
In order to achieve this goal, we want to engage our community of volunteers, partners, donors, clients and stakeholders in raising our collective voice to make change. Below is a list of our current top policy priorities, as well as links with additional information and resources.
We hope you will join us and take action to make change in our communities.
Advocacy Opportunities at the State Level
This bill would establish a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) housing supplemental payment to augment the basic SILP monthly rate, based on the cost of housing in their county of residence.
This bill removes barriers to maintaining financial aid for students struggling academically by creating a common set of SAP (satisfactory academic progress) standards, remove additional requirements that are more restrictive than those federally mandated, and ensures students have clear pathways to regain financial aid.
This bill seeks to provide necessary intervention, increase accessibility to resources and provide valuable education and training services to protect our youth from fentanyl poisoning and overdoses.
This bill establishes the Fostering Futures Program, which will cover 100% of remaining unmet need after other federal, state and institutional aid for students pursuing an associate degree, transfer pathway or certificate at a community college, or a bachelor’s degree at a CSU or UC.
SB 407 – Foster Care Resource Families – Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymembers Alex Lee and Evan Low
This bill requires resource families to demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive youth, and the capacity and willingness to meet those needs.
SB 333 - Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (SOAR) Guaranteed Income Program – Senator Dave Cortese
This bill would establish the California Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (SOAR) Guaranteed Income Program, which would provide direct cash assistance payments of $1,000 monthly to approximately 15,000 homeless high school seniors in California.
In addition, we are keeping an eye on Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed change to the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) that would reallocate funds to support the development of housing for individuals and families that are homeless, as well as additional housing supports for individuals with mental health needs. Currently, the MHSA provides partial funding to 5 Bill Wilson Center programs. While the details are still in development, this change could reduce funding for programs like ours, and decisions about funding cuts would be decided at the County level.
We have met with our members of Congress to advocate for the following appropriations:
- Reauthorizing the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, and make $300m in FY24 appropriations
- Appropriating $800m for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth program
- Appropriating $100m for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program
- Appropriating $300m for the Emergency Solutions Grant program in FY24
These programs and funding sources have a direct impact in our region, and in communities throughout the United States.
For more information about these policy and funding requests, visit our partner, the National Network for Youth.
How to Take Action
To make change locally, speak during public comment at your local City Council meeting or during the Board of Supervisors meeting. Click here for tips on giving public comment during a City or County meeting.
To make change at the state level, call or email your representative. Click here to find your California State Senate and Assembly representatives.
To support change at the federal level, call or email your elected official. Click here to find your members of Congress.
For more information about how to support our policy work, please contact Josh Selo, Chief Executive Officer, at email@example.com or 408-850-6139