1420.628 Affordable housing for children and young adults leaving foster care; legislative findings and intent.—
(1)(a) The Legislature finds that there are many young adults who, through no fault of their own, live in foster families, group homes, and institutions, and face numerous barriers to a successful transition to adulthood. Young adults who are leaving the child welfare system may enter adulthood lacking the knowledge, skills, attitudes, habits, and relationships that will enable them to become productive members of society.
(b) The Legislature further finds that the main barriers to safe and affordable housing for such young adults are cost, lack of availability, the unwillingness of landlords to rent to such youth due to perceived regulatory barriers, and a lack of knowledge about how to be a good tenant. These barriers cause young adults to be at risk of becoming homeless.
(c) The Legislature also finds that young adults who leave the child welfare system are disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Without the stability of safe and affordable housing, all other services, training, and opportunities provided to such young adults may not be effective. Making affordable housing available will decrease the chance of homelessness and may increase the ability of such young adults to live independently.
(d) The Legislature intends that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, agencies within the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program, local housing finance agencies, public housing authorities, and their agents, and other providers of affordable housing coordinate with the Department of Children and Family Services, their agents, and community-based care providers who provide services under s. 409.1671 to develop and implement strategies and procedures designed to make affordable housing available whenever and wherever possible to young adults who leave the child welfare system.
(2) Young adults who leave the child welfare system meet the definition of eligible persons under ss. 420.503(17) and 420.9071(10) for affordable housing, and are encouraged to participate in federal, state, and local affordable housing programs. Students deemed to be eligible occupants under 26 U.S.C. s. 42(i)(3)(D) shall be considered eligible persons for purposes of all projects funded under this chapter.
History.—s. 25, ch. 2009-96; s. 5, ch. 2009-164; s. 97, ch. 2010-5.
1Note.—As created by s. 25, ch. 2009-96. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, “Statutory Construction.” Section 420.628 was also created by s. 5, ch. 2009-164, and that version reads:
420.628 Young adults leaving foster care; legislative findings.—
(1) The Legislature finds that the transition from childhood to adulthood is filled with opportunity and risk. Most young people who receive adequate support make this transition successfully and become healthy adults who are prepared for work and are able to become responsible, fulfilled members of their families and communities.
(2) The Legislature finds that there are also many young people who enter adulthood without the knowledge, skills, attitudes, habits, and relationships that enable them to be productive members of society. Those young people who, through no fault of their own, live in foster families, group homes, and institutions are among those at greatest risk.
(3) The Legislature finds that these young people face numerous barriers to a successful transition to adulthood. Those barriers include changes in foster care placements and schools, limited opportunities for participation in age-appropriate activities, and the inability to achieve economic stability, make connections with permanent supportive adults or family, and access housing. The main barriers to safe and affordable housing for youth who leave foster care due to age are cost, lack of availability, the unwillingness of many landlords to rent to them, and their own lack of knowledge about how to be good tenants.
(4) The Legislature also finds that young adults who emancipate from the child welfare system are at risk of becoming homeless and those who were formerly in foster care are disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Only about two-fifths of eligible young people receive independent living services and, of those who do, few receive adequate housing assistance. Without the stability of safe housing, other services, training, and opportunities may not be effective.
(5) The Legislature further finds that research on young people who emancipate from foster care suggests a nexus between foster care involvement and later episodes of homelessness and that interventions in the foster care system might help to prevent homelessness. Responding to the needs of young people leaving the foster care system with developmentally appropriate supportive housing models organized in a continuum of decreasing supervision may increase their ability to live independently.
(6) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to encourage the Department of Children and Family Services, its agents, and community-based care providers operating pursuant to s. 409.1671 to develop and implement procedures designed to reduce the number of young adults who become homeless after leaving the child welfare system.