This November will be California’s second year celebrating Runaway and Homeless Youth Month, which coincides with National Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Learn more about their events going on in November, including their campaign to turn the Capitol green, by following them on Twitter and Facebook.
On October 4th, 2011 Assembly Bill 1111, Fletcher (R) 75th District, was signed and chaptered. This bill prohibits the garnishment of wages for anyone under the age of 25 who has been issued a citation for status offenses such as truancy, loitering, curfew violations, or illegal lodging if that young person is homeless or has no permanent address. AB 1111 authorizes a court to collect such fines when that person is 25 years of age or older, or if the individual obtains permanent, stable housing.
This bill also makes important declarations in regards to youth homelessness, citing that homeless youth often become homeless because they are fleeing neglect or abuse, are barred from home by their parents, or are former foster children forced to live on their own when they turn 18. This bill refers to the HYP’s 2008 report, Voices from the Street: A Survey of Homeless Youth by Their Peers, for documenting that youth are routinely ticketed for offenses that are the inevitable symptoms of homelessness. AB 1111 stated that levying the bank account of homeless youths makes it more difficult for them to save money to rent their own apartments and end their homelessness. AB 1111 successfully argued that therefore “it is in the best interest of the state to discourage wage and bank account garnishment practices that make it more difficult for youths who are homeless to obtain housing through their own hard work without exculpating them from the offenses they commit.”