House Bill (HB) 1577 – Homeless Youth, sponsored by State Representative Marie Woodson (D-Hollywood), was signed into law by Governor DeSantis earlier this week. HB 1577 helps youth who experience homelessness by removing barriers, providing opportunities for their education, and assisting with the transition to adulthood, as well as levels the playing field for youth exiting foster care at age 18. This law helps 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 requires local school districts to provide an identification card for students experiencing homelessness that explains their rights, benefits, and contact information for their school liaison.
“It is critical we provide these resources for our vulnerable youth who are doing everything right in their power to forge a path forward to a better future. 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,” said Representative Woodson. “This new law provides youth exiting foster care and youth who experience homelessness with access to services and tools that can help alleviate some of the barriers and obstacles they face. I could not be more honored to work on passing this necessary legislation. A heartfelt thank you to Chair Altman, Florida Youth Shine, Christina Spudeas, Ron Book, Jack Levine, my colleagues for voting in support on this important bill, and so many others.”
HB 1577 goes into effect on July 1, 2022.