SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Students across the state are kicking off a new school year.
As they head back to class, some are carrying more of a burden than others.
“Some of our remarkable young people are facing daunting challenges. They are facing the barriers that homelessness presents,” said Matt Minkevitch with The Road Home.
As a former school teacher, Representative Elizabeth Weight saw those daunting challenges from the front lines.
She saw students going without the things others take for granted.
“To have a safe place to sleep, to have nourishing meals, to have adults they can trust and rely on, to have enough stability in their lives to allow them to focus on school,” said Weight, (D) West Valley City.
That’s why she ran House Bill 371, which was signed into law by the governor.
It allows homeless youth, under certain circumstances, to access shelter and other resources without having consent from a parent or guardian.
It also waives the fee for getting a birth certificate.
Some of the organizations these teens can turn to include: Volunteers of America, Youth Futures and Salt Lake County Youth Services.
“With every tragic story that we hear of our young people, there are so many of them that are going against the odds, and a bill like this really is opening the doors,” said Mina Koplin with Salt Lake County Youth Services.
HB 371 passed both chambers on a unanimous vote.
Senator Jake Anderegg is hoping to build on that by running a bill to fund affordable housing again.
He says his bill will include money for youth services.
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