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Baldwin Park Lawmaker Pushes For California To Formally Designate Unaccompanied Women As Homeless Subgroup

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A Baldwin Park lawmaker has introduced legislation to make California the first state in the nation to designate unaccompanied women – individuals without children or other dependents – as an official homeless subgroup.

California State Senator and Assistant Majority Whip Susan Rubio (SD 22-Baldwin Park) formally introduced the historic "Unaccompanied Women Experiencing Homelessness Act of 20210" Friday morning.

Sponsored by the Downtown Women's Center (DWC), SB 678 will require that counties provide data on unaccompanied women – who make up 29% of adult individuals experiencing homelessness nationally – to a committee that will be responsible for incorporating the data into the Homeless Data Integration System and for setting specific, measurable goals aimed at preventing and ending homelessness among unaccompanied women, Rubio said.

"Women who are on their own and experiencing homelessness are too often forgotten because there is a lack of specific programs to serve their needs," said Rubio. "Despite making up nearly one-third of homeless adults nationwide, no state, including California, classifies unaccompanied women as a distinct group. Many of these women are dealing with trauma, including domestic violence and sexual assault, that contributed to their situation. The first step to solving our state's homeless problem is having accurate data about who is unhoused and what their needs are, and I'm proud to author this bill to accomplish that."

Unaccompanied women are disproportionately victims of gender-based violence and wait an average of more than 10 years to access stable housing, according to the DWC.

In the fall of 2020, the city and county of Los Angeles formally designated unaccompanied women as a recognized homeless sub-population.

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