Housing California's 2020 Policy Agenda
Housing California’s 2020 Policy Agenda focuses on community members most in need of an affordable place to call home. This includes people struggling to make ends meet and those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. We utilize multiple strategies to meet these goals, including reforming California's laws and regulations regarding land use and finance, as well as innovative approaches to end homelessness. Housing California leads with the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion to prioritize those who have been historically marginalized and/or neglected in decision-making processes, and we work in close collaboration with a variety of partners. These partners include non-profits, affordable housing developers, affordable housing residents and persons with lived experience, foundations, labor unions, trade associations, corporations, and supportive policymakers from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Our 2020 legislative priorities are listed below. As the legislative session progresses, please check this page for updates.
AB 1703 (Bloom)
State-wide Tenant’s Right of First Offer
This bill would require owners of tenant-occupied single family and multi-family properties to provide notice of the owner’s intent to sell their property and give tenants and qualifying organizations the right to first offer to purchase the property to ensure the long-term affordability of more housing in communities throughout California.
AB 1845 (Rivas)
State Office to End Homelessness
Status: Governor’s Desk
This bill would create an Office to End Homelessness within the Governor’s Office that would be overseen by a Secretary of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness, who would have both the authority to coordinate and to hold the state accountable for its response to addressing homelessness. The new Office would provide a single point of contact on homelessness at the state level to oversee and coordinate homelessness programs administered by other state entities, thereby removing unnecessary bureaucracy and consolidating the delivery of services.
AB 1907 (Santiago)
CEQA Exemption for Permanent Supportive Housing, some Affordable Housing
This bill would provide a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption for affordable housing funded by certain programs, supportive housing, and emergency shelters. While CEQA was originally intended to protect the environment from the negative impacts of development, CEQA has been used by opponents of family, low-income and homeless housing, to delay developments with a lengthy environmental review process.
AB 2329 (Chiu)
Homelessness Needs and Gaps Analysis
AB 2329 would require the State to do a needs and gaps assessment of state programs that provide housing or services to people AB 2329 would require the State to conduct a needs and gaps assessment of state programs that provide housing or services to people experiencing homelessness, to determine their efficiency, and potential gaps in services or duplicative efforts. This analysis will increase collaboration, coordination, communication and data sharing among the multiple state agencies and departments that serve people experiencing homelessness. The data gathered can help develop state-wide strategies, best practices and examine common barriers/challenges with specific populations.
AB 2988 (Chu)
Increased Cap for Streamlined Supportive Housing
In 2018, the Legislature passed AB 2162, which created streamlined approval of supportive housing projects in areas where multi-family housing is allowed. However, for supportive housing projects utilizing this streamlined approval process, the bill included a maximum of 50 units per project, in areas with less than 200,000 people and less than 1,500 Point In Time (PIT) count.
This bill, AB 2988, would increase the unit cap on projects eligible for streamlined approval, from 50 to 120 units, in areas with less than 200,000 people and less than a 1,500 PIT count. It would also expand the areas where the development of supportive housing is eligible for streamlined approval to include areas where emergency shelters are allowed.
AB 3269 (Chiu)
State and Local Agencies: Homelessness Plan and Needs Gap Analysis
This bill would establish the Office of the Housing and Homelessness Inspector General (IG) as an independent Office within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. The bill would require a statewide needs and gaps analysis to identify state programs that provide housing or services to persons experiencing homelessness and create a financial model assessing the investment needs for moving these community members into permanent housing. The bill sets forth a goal of reducing homelessness by 90% by 2028. The Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council would be required to set benchmark goals for every “agency,” defined as both the State and local jurisdictions, to meet the 90% reduction by 2028. Agencies would be required to submit annual reports to the Coordinating Council.
AB 3300 (Bloom)
Annual Appropriation to Tackle Homelessness
This bill would establish a framework for ongoing appropriations of $2 billion to address California’s homelessness crisis. AB 3300 would direct these funds to cities, counties and homeless Continuums of Care, and affordable housing developers in small cities, to expedite the development and delivery of homeless and affordable housing, rental assistance, and wrap-around services.
SB 282 (Beall)
Supportive Housing for People on Parole with Mental Illness
Status: Dead (2 year bill)
California allocates over $16 million per year for the Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolee program (ISMIP), a program that provides mental health treatment to parolees with severe mental illness. This program has been found ineffective by both the Legislative Analyst’s Office and UCLA. SB 282 would redirect the funding to the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide grants to counties for supportive housing. The county would be required to provide medi-cal mental health and substance use treatment to the participants.
SB 361 (Mitchell)
Health Homes Program Clean-Up
Status: Dead (2 year bill)
In 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 361 (Mitchell), which authorized the state to take advantage of an Affordable Care Act optional Medi-Cal benefit, now referred to as the Health Homes Program (HHP). The intent of AB 361 was to ensure that in California HHP funds services to help Medi-Cal beneficiaries experiencing chronic homelessness to access housing stability. This clean-up legislation would remove language around restricting state funding and also require health plans to implement benefits in ways that would make the program more meaningful.
ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry)
Affordable Housing and Public Infrastructure Voter Approval
This bill would reduce the local vote threshold for approval of bond and special tax measures to fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing from a two-thirds vote to a 55-percent majority. This measure would be placed on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval.
SCA 1 (Allen)
Repeal of Article 34 in the California Constitution
The California Constitution prohibits the development, construction, or acquisition of a low-rent housing project until a majority in the jurisdiction vote to approve the project. This measure would repeal that requirement and would be placed on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval.
AB 434 (Daly)
Streamline HCD Funding Applications and Award Process
Status: Governor’s Desk
AB 434 would streamline California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) rental housing program applications into a single application and award process. HCD operates at least 9 separate rental housing programs, and affordable housing developers must pull together a combination of these sources (often with federal tax credits as well) in order to fully fund a development. This fragmented funding application process inflates project costs, delays project timelines, and increases staff time for both affordable housing developers and HCD.
AB 694 (Irwin)
Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2022
The Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014 authorized the issuance of up to $600 million in bonds to provide funding to the California Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the construction and rehabilitation of multifamily housing and affordable rental housing for veterans. Under this bill, the above departments worked collaboratively to provide housing for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness, prioritizing projects that combine housing and supportive services, including, but not limited to, job training, mental health and drug treatment, case management, care coordination, or physical rehabilitation., This bill would enact the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2022, to authorize the issuance of bonds, up to $600 million, to provide additional funding for the development and preservation of affordable housing for veterans.
AB 1279 (Bloom)
By-Right Affordable Housing Development in High-Resource Areas
This bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to identify and designate areas in the state as high-resource areas by January 1, 2021, and every 5 years thereafter. In areas designated as high-resource areas, this bill would incentivize the development of mixed income and affordable housing. Incentives include streamlined approval for projects that meet affordability requirements, and reduced setback and parking requirements for financial feasibility. This bill would not affect areas at high risk of displacement and gentrification, nor would it overrule local policies requiring greater levels of affordability.
AB 1436 (Chiu)
Eviction Prevention and Housing Stability during the COVID-19 Emergency
This bill would prohibit evictions for failure to pay rent and provide other tenant protections during a statewide or local state of emergency related to COVID-19, and 90 days thereafter. AB 1436 would allow landlords to seek to recover unpaid rent, either through a written agreement with a tenant, or through civil action, but not until 15 months after the state of emergency related to COVID-19 has been lifted.
AB 1905 (Chiu)
Eliminating the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction on Second Homes
The bill would eliminate the mortgage interest tax deduction on second homes and also conform to federal law on mortgage deduction for primary homes from $1,000,000 to $750,000. The revenue generated by the measure would create an on-going fund of approximately $500 million annually to address homelessness.
AB 2054 (Kamlagher)
Community-based, Nonviolent Emergency Response Pilot Program
Status: Governor’s Desk
This bill (Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems, or CRISES Act) aims to create community-based emergency response services, that replace armed law enforcement with community-based, culturally competent, and de-escalatory personnel. Emergency response services will respond to crises involving mental health, homelessness, substance use, domestic violence and community violence, as well as natural disasters.
AB 3107 (Bloom)
Planning and Zoning for Housing Development
This bill would allow commercial sites to be used for housing developments that designate at least 20% of their units for lower-income households, so long as the site is infill and not adjacent to sites with industrial uses. The bill would also set minimum development standards for those sites and exempt cities that have an adequate amount of sites zoned for residential development.
SB 364 (Mitchell)
Continues Property Tax Exemption for Nonresidential Solar Energy Facilities
Status: Governor’s Desk
This bill would state that a nonresidential active solar energy system (constructed or installed before January 1, 2025) is personal property, not an improvement, and provide certain exemptions from personal property tax for that system until there is a following change in ownership of the system.
SB 899 (Weiner)
Streamlining Affordable Housing Development for Religious Institutions and Public Universities
SB 899 would provide places of worship, non-profit colleges, and hospitals a streamlined process to build 100% affordable housing on their land regardless of local zoning restrictions. These organizations would partner with housing developers to build projects that are permanently affordable for 55 years for rental housing and 45 years for homeownership.
SB 1410 (Caballero)
COVID-19 Emergency Eviction-Relief Agreements
This bill would create an optional tenant-owner COVID-19 eviction relief agreement, which would allow tenants to defer rent and prevent rental property owners from evicting tenants for unpaid rent accrued during the COVID-19 state of emergency. This bill would also allow a tax credit to owners for rent that is unpaid and deferred by tenants under a COVID-19 eviction relief agreement.
California COVID Rehousing & Resiliency Innovation Fund
We appreciate the Governor’s continued focus on ending homelessness in California. Our response strengthens the Governor’s proposed budget to ensure that 100% of persons who were housed through Project Roomkey are not forced back onto the streets. It accomplishes this within the new budget reality and leverages one-time federal funds with one-time/minimal state investment on a nearly 4:1 basis. There are three primary components in our proposal which are Expand, Eliminate, and Incentivize.
Stable Homes California
Collaborating with coalition partners, Housing California drafted a framework of solutions to address potential housing speculation in the wake of COVID-19. The proposed four-fold framework would stabilize our communities, preserve homes, and expand our affordable housing stock. It (1) includes flexible acquisition funding that allows eligible entities to buy and renovate distressed rental properties, (2) creates a statewide right of first offer policy giving community stakeholders an opportunity to act before a property hits the market, (3) creates a statewide anti-displacement banking policy restricting harmful lending practices, and (4) funds investment in nonprofit capacity building through technical assistance grants for acquisition and rehabilitation processes. Housing California, along with its coalition partners, strongly believes that these steps must be taken to prevent the widespread displacement, foreclosures, and the widening of the racial wealth gap that we saw as a result of the Great Recession.
Final Budget Analysis
The final budget for fiscal year 2020-21 was signed by the Governor on June 29th, 2020 and included funding for housing and homelessness. Please find a summary of the budget below, as it relates to housing and homelessness.
AB 1958 (Cooper)
State Plan of Flood Control
This bill would allow for local law enforcement to arrest and incarcerate people experiencing homelessness living near river levees. AB 1958 also permits the State Flood Control Plan and local authorities to remove people’s belongings by allowing authorities to remove “physical obstructions” from levees. The bill would criminalize and displace homeless persons living along or near waterways and levees.
AB 2580 (Eggman)
Streamlined Conversion of Hotels and Motels
AB 2580 would provide a streamlined approval process for the conversion of hotels and motels to residential use, if the developer reserves 20% of the units as affordable. The streamlining benefits provided by AB 2580 do not result in adequate amounts of required affordable units, nor adequate protections against displacement of existing residents. Housing California’s desired amendments include: limiting the streamlined approval to 100% affordable hotel/motel conversions, with a significant portion of units going to ELI or people experiencing or at risk of homelessness; providing relocation assistance and the right to return to existing residents; ensuring the bill does not undercut existing or future local motel/hotel conversion ordinances that provide deeper affordability or greater protections for existing residents.
AB 1063 (Pietre-Norris)
Weakens Housing Element Law requiring Cities and Counties to zone enough land to meet RHNA requirements
AB 1063 would weaken housing element law that requires cities and counties to zone land in order to meet their Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) requirements. RHNA requires cities and counties to zone enough land to meet the need in their region for housing at all levels of affordability. If land is not zoned for affordable housing, the affordable housing will not be built, and so local jurisdictions must be required to zone for enough affordable housing to meet the needs of their constituents.
SB 995 (Atkins)
Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act: Housing Projects
SB 995 would expedite the approval and production of affordable housing, through streamlining the judicial review of CEQA challenges to affordable housing developments. However, SB 995 also subjects 100% affordable housing developments to “skilled and trained” workforce requirements, which directly contradicts labor provisions negotiated in previous bills. “Skilled and trained” is a high threshold, and making it a workforce requirement will prevent licensed and qualified contractors from working on these projects, resulting in increased costs, timeframes and barriers to developing affordable housing. For these reasons, Housing California is respectfully opposing AB 995 unless amended to exempt housing developments that are 100% affordable from the “skilled and trained” workforce requirements in the bill or to remove housing projects from the bill entirely.
SB 1385 (Caballero)
Allowing residential use of commercial land, with no affordability requirement
SB 1385 would open up commercial land to residential housing without a zoning change or conditional use permit, but does not provide any benefit for low-income families most in need of housing. These changes would significantly increase the value of the land, and some of this increased land value should be recaptured for the public benefit, through including affordable homes in any developments making use of this bill. For these reasons, Housing California respectfully opposes SB 1385.