From the Imprint–Young adult life is well understood: Roommates bicker, rents go up, a job change requires a move. Youth with families have somewhere to turn during these common upsets. They can crash with parents while lining up a new place, or get a quick infusion of cash to cover a new security deposit and moving costs.
These otherwise ordinary rites of passage often leave foster youth homeless.
In 2020, California state legislators passed a law aimed at easing some of this housing instability by giving counties the flexibility to pay for emergency, ad hoc housing solutions like hotel rooms or Airbnbs when young adults in foster care find themselves between homes. And after nearly two years and dogged pressure from advocates, the new measure is finally being put into place in Los Angeles County. In the state’s largest county, more than 2,600 young people will be eligible for the emergency housing relief.
Attorney Lindsay Verity, who represents foster youth in Los Angeles County, described just how desperately the help is needed. Of her 167 clients that aged out of extended foster care last year, 17% had experienced homelessness at least once.
“When I started this job, I was floored to learn that youth in foster care could be homeless,” Verity said at a March meeting of the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families.
But she quickly came to find out it was all-too common.