Santa Clara County Supervisors OK Cash Payments to Needy High School Seniors

Santa Clara County will soon launch a pilot program to bring financial support to unhoused high school seniors

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved a program that from April to August 2023 will send unconditional payments of $1,000 a month to homeless students in their final year of high school in an effort to ease their transition into higher education or work opportunities.

Introduced by Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, the proposal is a local version of a statewide bill proposed by Sen. Dave Cortese that failed to win legislative approval. Senate Bill 1341 would have financially supported homeless teenagers in their last five months of high school.

The hope was to prevent an estimated 15,000 unhoused seniors in California from slipping further into poverty without proper financial resources -- something Cortese refers to as the “summer melt.”

“This makes Santa Clara County the first county in the state to refuse to graduate high school seniors into homelessness,” Cortese said in a statement. “I am grateful to Supervisor Ellenberg for carrying this movement forward and our Board of Supervisors for leading with vision by supporting our students through this critical transition period.”

Cortese, a former Santa Clara County supervisor, had sponsored in June 2020 a basic income program for young people exiting foster care. The program was recently renewed by county supervisors to extend into 2023.

Roughly 2,500 students in the county faced homelessness in the 2020-21 school year, according to county data.

Ellenberg said this pilot program is an opportunity for the county to both provide more than just self-improvement programs for people in need, and to rewrite the “harmful and narrow personal responsibility narratives” that those in poverty cannot be trusted with unrestricted cash.

She believes guaranteed income is this generation's extension of protections, just as Social Security, child labor laws, 40-hour work weeks and collective bargaining helped prior generations.

“We will counter that narrative and provide a fully-flexible resource for Santa Clara's youth to use as they best see fit as they transition and develop into young adults,” Ellenberg said. “From housing to overall well being, guaranteed income reduces volatility and provides stability for residents.”



  1. Social_ism without Education? Sadly misguided policies.

    It would be much more beneficial to “Santa Clara’s youth” to provide them the tools, in the form of an education or skill to enable them to transition and develop into educated, responsible, self-supporting young adults.

    It was bad in 2018 and definitely has degraded much worse since then, as unaccountable Teacher’s Unions abused their influence on elected officials, forcing CDC policy and State School Board policy to reflect their selfish goals, which did not align with the Actual Science –
    like school closure, classroom distancing, hard surface sanitation, and masking & vaccination mandates for children.

    As reported by the CA LAO (Legislative Analyst’s Office) Report Jan 2018:

    “CA Ranks Near the Bottom on National Tests.
    The federal government administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress every 2 years.
    The most recent assessment results (2015) show that
    CA performs near the Bottom in Reading & Math for 4th and 8th grades.
    The performance of non-low-income students in CA (39th in 8th grade reading) ranks a little bit higher than the performance of low-income students (45th in 8th grade reading).”

    “CA’s performance compared to other states has NOT Changed significantly in the Past 10 Years. “

  2. That is exactly what these so-called ‘Progressive’ supervisors want.

    “Social.ism without Education”

    An educated voter base would throw them out of office right on their ear or #ear.

  3. I grew up poor with no prospects of unconditional monthly payments from the government. However, there was a government program that guaranteed food, housing, training, and a basic income. They even covered college. It’s available to almost any young person. It’s called military service. You put in the work and you will be compensated for your effort. Unconditional money is no different than welfare. You’re creating another generation of takers instead of producers. UBI is the most ridiculous idea. Progressives never run out of ideas on how to give away other peoples money.

  4. Yup, the government has to get these youngsters hooked on free government money early. Teaching the “leaders” of tomorrow that work is for suckers.

  5. As a social worker who works directly with these young students, I applaud the County for this effort. We live in the most wealthy country, in the most wealthy state, in the most wealthy county. Every homeless family I work with is working at least 2 jobs but they still cannot pay $2,500 for a 1 bedroom apartment. The cost of living is so ridiculous, our youth cannot keep up…especially those who experience homelessness in high school. So THANK YOU, Board of Supervisors, for ignoring these old, bitter folks who just complain about homelessness with little compassion for these HUMAN BEINGS. Thank you.

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