SALEM, Ore.—Monday, Oregon House Democrats passed House Bill 4013 A, which will waive public university tuition and fees for current and former unaccompanied homeless youth. The bill will also expand the reach of a services for this population, who are ages 14 to 24, experiencing homelessness, and not in the custody of a parent or guardian.
“We urgently need to respond to the homelessness crisis impacting our children, especially because children who are homeless are highly likely to experience homelessness as adults,” said Rep. Anna Williams (D-Hood River).
“This bill will provide critical support to some of Oregon’s most vulnerable youth.
"By investing in them now, we can put them on the path to educational success and secure housing in adulthood.”
Oregon has the among highest rates of youth homelessness in the United States. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that there were over 1,500 unaccompanied homeless youth in Oregon.
In 2021, the Legislature passed House Bill 2544, which established a program to award two-year grants to organizations currently providing services to unaccompanied homeless youth. Under current Oregon law, current or former foster youth are eligible to waive public university tuition and fees. HB 4013 A expands the grant program, makes unaccompanied homeless youth eligible for tuition and fee waivers, and increases access to independent residence facilities to include homeless youth.
HB 4013 A passed the House 60-0 and now moves to the Senate.