February 28, 2018
Honourable Blanca Rubio
Chair, Assembly Human Services Committee
State Capitol, Room 5175
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 1921 (Maienschein) – CalWORKs: housing assistance
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Rubio,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports AB 1921 (Maienschein). This bill would provide that as part of the CalWORKS program, a homeless family that has used all available liquid resources in excess of $100 is eligible for homeless assistance benefits to pay the costs of temporary shelter of up to 16 cumulative calendar days every 12 months, instead of the current limited 16 consecutive calendar days every 12 months.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated in 2016 that nearly 120,000 homeless people lived in California in 2016, including over 20,000 members of families with children. However, many do not receive the assistance they need because of legal loopholes that leave them ineligible. This leaves many families without a stable home, which is highly dangerous and detrimental to a family’s health and well-being.
Children who grew up in extreme poverty as well as homeless are shown to have lower social skills, worse peer relationships, and more internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Homelessness as well as unstable housing is associated with increased adverse health and material hardship compared to having stable housing. In addition, these children are at risk of developing chronic diseases as well as developmental problems.
AB 1921 (Maienschein) would help get families off the street and into stable housing by allowing families to use these benefits on non-consecutive calendar days. This would be highly beneficial to thousands of California families who are currently living in unstable housing conditions.
Pediatricians across the state urge you to vote AYE on AB 1921 (Maienschein). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Susan Wu, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Assembly Human Services Committee Members
Office of Honorable Brian Maienschein, California State Assembly (Author)
AAP-CA Leadership; CEO Kris Calvin; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne; Policy Analyst Ozge Dogan, MD