Housing California's 2021 Policy Agenda
Housing California’s 2021 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 2021 legislative priorities are listed below. As the legislative session progresses, please check this page for updates and position summary.
AB 816 (Chiu)
Homelessness Accountability and Needs Assessment
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 people 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 816 aligns with Policy Solution E8 in the Roadmap Home 2030.
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 2022 ballot for voter approval.
ACA 1 aligns with Priority #6 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
SCA 2 (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 votes to approve the project. This bill would place a measure on the November 2022 ballot to repeal that requirement.
SCA 2 aligns with Policy Solution D7 in the Roadmap Home 2030.
AB 15 (Chiu)
Extends the Moratorium on Evictions
This bill would extend the eviction moratorium created through AB 3088 for nonpayment of rent to December 31, 2021.
AB 15 aligns with Priority #10 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
AB 118 (Kamlager)
Emergency Services: Community Response
This bill would establish the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems (CRISES) Act pilot program, which would scale up community-based alternatives to police.
AB 339 (Lee)
State and Local Government: Open Meetings
This bill would specify that all meetings include an opportunity to attend via a call-in or internet-based service option that provides closed captioning services and amends the definition of “meeting” to include a gathering using teleconference technology.
AB 362 (Quirk Silva)
Homeless Shelters: Safety Regulations
This bill would establish minimum health and safety standards for homeless shelters, including minimum standards for maintenance, interior air quality, sleeping rooms, laundries, etc. It would also require a homeless shelter to be structurally sound in order to protect residents from the elements and not pose any threat to the health and safety of the residents.
AB 721 (Bloom)
Covenants and Restrictions
This bill would make private restrictive covenants limiting the number of people or units, or size of a property, unenforceable against affordable developments. Private restrictive covenants historically were used to discriminate against people of color, and are still a barrier to the development of affordable housing.
AB 1206 (Bennett)
Affordable Housing: Welfare Exemption
AB 989 (Gabriel)
Housing Accountability Committee
This bill would create the Housing Accountability Committee within HCD, whose responsibilities would include reviewing appeals regarding multifamily projects that have been denied or rendered financially infeasible by local governments.
AB 989 aligns with Policy Solution C5 in the Roadmap Home 2030.
This bill would add “deeply low income household” (DLI) as a new tier to income eligibility for affordable housing. DLI would be defined to mean persons and families whose incomes do not exceed 15 percent of area median income.
AB 1043 aligns with the Roadmap Home by prioritizing those struggling the most to make ends meet.
The California Constitution exempts property used for charitable and nonprofit uses from property taxes, including affordable housing. This bill would grant the welfare exemption to nonprofit, limited equity housing cooperatives (LEHC).
AB 1017 (Quirk-Silva )
Right to Restrooms Act
This bill would require local governments to do an inventory of public restrooms available to those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 state of emergency and report their findings to the Office of Emergency Services, who would be required to compile a report to the Legislature. This bill would be repealed by its own provisions on January 1, 2024.
AB 1043 (Rivas)
Deeply Low Income
AB 369 (Kamlager)
Medi-Cal: Street Medicine
This bill would create a program that provides Medi-Cal benefits to people experiencing homelessness and permits access to health services (from primary and non primary doctors). It would also create a reimbursement mechanism for street medicine providers using Medi-Cal funds and medical identification for people experiencing homelessness.
AB 369 aligns with Policy Solution A15 in the Roadmap Home 2030 to expand Medi-Cal for housing navigation and tenancy support services.
AB 1304 (Santiago)
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
This bill would strengthen requirements for cities and counties to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). The AFFH duty is critical to ensuring that governmental entities take active steps to dismantle segregation, foster inclusive communities, create equal housing opportunities, address disinvestment in low-income neighborhoods, and protect residents from displacement.
AB 1304 aligns with the Roadmap Home's goals to advance racial equity, create affordable homes, and protect renters.
SB 17 (Pan)
Office of Racial Equity
This bill would establish the Office of Racial Equity (ORE) and the Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council to address systemic and institutional racism. It will also require the ORE to develop a Racial Equity Framework for the state and direct state agencies to create and implement Racial Equity Action Plans based on the framework.
SB 17 aligns with the Roadmap Home’s cross-cutting recommendation to create a statewide racial equity framework for investment and the Roadmap Home’s overall goal of advancing racial equity.
SB 57 (Wiener)
Controlled substances: overdose prevention program.
This bill would, until January 1, 2027, authorize the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Oakland to approve overdose protection programs for safe, hygienic use of controlled substances under staff supervision.
SB 344 (Hertzberg)
Shelter Pet Program
This bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to develop and administer a program which awards grants to qualified homeless shelters for the provision of shelter, food, and basic veterinary services for pets owned by people experiencing homelessness.
SB 678 (Rubio)
Unaccompanied Women Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021
This bill would require the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to assume additional responsibilities (setting specific, measurable goals, etc.) aimed at preventing and ending homelessness among unaccompanied women in the state and defining outcome measures and gathering data related to goals.
SB 6 (Caballero) (Letter of concerns)
Housing in Commercial Zones.
(Previously SB 1385). Allows for residential use on neighborhood lots, defined as parcels zoned in retail or commercial use, not adjacent to industrial use. Would allow streamlined, ministerial approval of multi-family housing under Planning and Zoning Law provisions (which expire in 2026), which grant ministerial approval to MFH that is residential, mixed use, and meets objective zoning and development standards.
SB 7 (Atkins) (Opposed unless amended)
Environmental quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2021
(Previously SB 995). The bill would broaden the application and utilization of Master Environment Impact Report (MEIR) by reducing the dollar amount required for applicants from $100 million to $15 million. In addition, the bill allows projects an expedited CEQA litigation process. However, this bill contains a provision that would limit the eligible workforce, particularly in non-major urban areas throughout the state, which would severely impede the production of affordable housing.
SB 15 (Portantino)
Rezoning Idle Retail
This bill would establish a program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to provide grants to cities and counties that rezone idle or underutilized big box retailer or commercial shopping center properties and instead provide for the development of specified lower and moderate income housing.
Two-Year Bills: Sponsor
AB 71 (Rivas)
The Bring California Home Act
This bill, supported by the Bring California Home coalition, would establish a permanent source of funding and a collaborative statewide strategy for solving homelessness through funding from large and multinational corporations. It requires annual reporting and strengthens data collection at the local and state levels. The funds will flow through continuums of care, counties, and cities. Eligible uses include rental assistance and supportive, affordable, and interim housing and services.
AB 71 aligns with Priority #5 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
AB 328 (Chiu)
Re-entry Housing Program
Assembly Bill 328 would establish the Re-entry Housing Program by reallocating cost savings from recent and future prison closures towards housing and supportive services for formerly incarcerated people. Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the funding would enable counties and continuums of care to address the specific needs of those exiting the criminal justice system, help them exit homelessness and remain stably housed, and reintegrate them into their local communities.
AB 328 aligns with Priority #3 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
AB 1375 (Bloom)
Preservation of Unsubsidized Affordable Housing
This bill would remove barriers to acquisition and rehabilitation (acq-rehab) of private market housing that is more affordable to low-income residents. Acq-rehab quickly and cost-effectively increases the supply of deed-restricted affordable housing, while allowing tenants to live in their homes and communities.
AB 1375 aligns with Priority #2 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
SB 490 (Caballero)
Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Program
This bill would create a technical assistance program to provide capacity and expertise to local governments to engage in the acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation (acq-rehab) of unsubsidized affordable housing. Acq-rehab is a cost-effective strategy that allows low-income people to stay in their homes, while quickly and economically increasing the stock of deed-restricted affordable housing.
SB 490 aligns with Priority #2 in the Roadmap Home’s 2021 Policy Package.
Two-Year Bills: Support
AB 115 (Bloom)
Residential Housing in Commercial Zoning
AB 258 (Villapudua)
Low Barrier Interim Housing
This bill would require all state housing and homelessness programs that fund interim housing to follow low barrier housing first practices.
AB 258 aligns with the “Housing First” principle of the Roadmap Home 2030.
AB 411 (Irwin)
Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2022
This bill would authorize the issuing of $600 million in bonds to provide additional funding for provisions within the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Bond Act of 2022. VHHP finances the development of affordable rental and transitional housing for veterans with an emphasis on housing for homeless and extremely low-income veterans.
AB 411 aligns with Policy Solution A2 in the Roadmap Home 2030 to scale state housing programs.
AB 771 (Bennett)
Vehicles: Driver’s Licenses.
This bill would waive driver’s license renewal fees for people experiencing homelessness.
Two-Year Bills: Opposed
AB 1340 (Santiago)
Mental Health Services: Involuntary Detention
This bill would expand the definition of “gravely disabled” to include a condition in which a person with a mental health disorder is unable to provide for their basic personal needs for medical treatment. However, this bill expands involuntary holds at the expense of an individual’s civil rights.
SB 621 (Eggman)
Conversion of Motels
This bill would provide for a streamlined, ministerial approval process for the conversion of hotels and motels to residential uses, with the condition that the developer agrees to include 20% of units affordable to lower-income households for 55 years. This bill contains a provision that would limit the eligible workforce, particularly in non-major urban areas throughout the state, which would severely impede the conversion of the motels into affordable housing.
Governor Newsom introduced his proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22 on January 8th, 2021 and included funding for housing and homelessness.