As a parent to seven young adults, one of whom was in foster care, and having served as the CEO of a foster care housing and mental health agency for over three decades, I’ve intimately witnessed the struggles and traumas faced by youth transitioning out of foster care. These challenges are only exacerbated by the exorbitant cost of living in Silicon Valley.

Like many of you, I’ve experienced firsthand the financial housing strain faced by young adults, including my own children, with two of them returning home after college due to the inability to afford astronomical rents.

Shockingly, recent data from RentCafe reveals that 25% of millennials (ages 27-42) and a staggering 75% of Generation Z (ages 18-26) in the Bay Area live in multigenerational households, highlighting the immense housing crisis gripping our region.

But what about young adults in foster care who age out at 18 or 20 without the support of families?

Far too many of these former foster youth, especially Black and Brown youth, find themselves homeless as they embark on their journey into adulthood after leaving foster care. A Bay Area Legal Aid Youth Homelessness report shows that 75% of San Francisco Bay Area homeless youth were formerly in foster care and/or involved in the juvenile justice system.

Furthermore, a May 2023 report by the United Way ranked San Jose No. 1 in the nation for homeless young adults ages 18-24. These are appalling statistics — especially here in one of the most affluent and well-resourced regions in the nation.

As a parent, can you imagine allowing your child to leave home at 18 without a safe place to call their own? Yet, this is the reality for many young adults exiting foster care, thrust into adulthood without a safety net, despite California’s reputation for progressive legislation.

In 2010, Assembly Bill 12 extended foster care benefits for ages 18-20 and established the Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP), providing a beacon of hope for thousands of youths. However, the monthly support of $799 remained frozen for a decade, failing to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

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