HB 1577, sponsored by State Representative Marie Woodson (D-Hollywood), passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. HB 1577 helps to level the playing field for youth exiting foster care at age 18 and youth who experience homelessness by removing barriers, providing opportunities for their education, and helping with the transition to adulthood. The bill will help this vulnerable population in many ways; including the addition of liaisons for homeless youth at colleges and universities to provide support for their specific needs and requiring local school districts to provide an ID card for students experiencing homelessness that explains their rights, benefits, and contact information for their school liaison.
“When I was campaigning, I met a college student who was living out of his car. I was dismayed. Here was this young man working to improve his life; but unable to afford a place to live. After many conversations with College and University Presidents, the Florida Department of Education, and the State University System, I learned just how widespread this issue is across the state. I also spent many years working with foster care youth when I was a county administrator, so I have witnessed firsthand just how difficult the transition out of foster care is for these youth,” said Representative Woodson.
“HB 1577 puts the needs of youth exiting foster care and youth who experience homelessness at the forefront by providing them with access to services and tools that can help alleviate some of the barriers and obstacles they face. The bill was born from a statewide coalition of youth, schools, and service providers. I could not be more honored to work on passing this necessary legislation. A heartfelt thank you to Chair Altman and my colleagues for voting in support on this important bill,” added Representative Woodson.
Having passed favorably, the bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee next.