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.
Sponsored Bills on Governor's Desk
AB 816 (Chiu)
Homelessness Accountability and Needs Assessment
This bill requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to prioritize the national Housing Trust Fund resources to produce housing for people experiencing homelessness.
AB 816 aligns with Policy Solution A2 in the Roadmap Home 2030.
Support Bills on Governor's Desk
AB 27 (Rivas)
Homeless Children and Youths and Unaccompanied Youths
This bill would create three regionally located Technical Assistance Centers (TACs) to identify and connect students to services.
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 215 (Chiu)
Planning and Zoning Law: housing element: violations.
This bill would strengthen housing element public participation requirements and add a number of laws, including AB 686 (affirmatively furthering fair housing) and AB 2162 (by right approval for permanent supportive housing) to HCD’s AB 72 enforcement authority, which allows the department to revoke housing element compliance for jurisdictions that violate other housing-related laws.
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 977 (Gabriel)
Homelessness program data reporting: Homeless Management Information System
This bill would require, beginning January 1, 2023, that a grantee or entity operating in many State homelessness programs as a condition of receiving state funds, to enter data elements, as defined by HUD’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Data Standards, on the individuals and families it serves into its local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The bill would apply the data entry requirements to all new state homelessness programs that commence on or after July 1, 2021. The bill would require the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to provide technical assistance and guidance to any grantee or entity that operates a program subject to the bill, if the grantee or entity does not already collect and enter into the local Homeless Management Information System the data elements required.
This bill would establish a new acutely low-income category, defined as at or below 15% of area median income (AMI).
AB 1043 aligns with the Roadmap Home by prioritizing those struggling the most to make ends meet.
This bill would make changes to the structure of the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council and eliminate the exemption for emergency shelter from housing first law (SB 1380, 2016 Mitchell).
AB 1043 (Bryan)
Acutely Low Income
AB 369 (Kamlager)
Medi-Cal: Street Medicine
This bill would create a reimbursement mechanism for street medicine and Medi-Cal access.
AB 369 aligns with Policy Solution A15 in the Roadmap Home 2030 to expand Medi-Cal for housing navigation and tenancy support services.
AB 1220 (Rivas)
Homelessness: California Interagency Council on Homelessness.
AB 1304 (Santiago)
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
This bill clarifies various housing element requirements to ensure that cities and counties are meaningfully complying with their legal duty to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH), which requires public entities to 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 629 (Roth)
This bill would expand eligibility for reduced cost of identification cards and increase re-entry population access to IDs. Assembly amendments would require Dept. of Corrections and Rehab to manage the process between inmates and other agencies, repeal existing law that makes ineligible those with unpaid fees; and authorize DMV to issue licences in lieu of ID cards.
Opposed Bills on Governor's Desk
SB 10 (Wiener)
Planning and zoning: housing development: density.
Allows local governments to zone any parcel for up to 10 units if the parcel is in a transit-rich or infill area. An ordinance passed under this bill would not be subject to CEQA. Housing California has concerns SB 10 will undermine existing streamlining of affordable and supportive housing available under SB 35 (Wiener, 2017) and AB 2162 (Chiu, 2018).
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 Policy Solution A1 in the Roadmap Home to provide local governments with flexible ongoing funding for a range of homelessness solutions.
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 Policy Solution A8 in the Roadmap Home to shift savings from prison closures to invest housing and services for formerly incarcerated Californians facing homelessness.
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 Policy Solution A7 in the Roadmap Home to convert rental properties occupied by low-income households currently on the private market into affordable homes.
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 Policy Solution to A7 in the Roadmap Home to convert rental properties occupied by low-income households currently on the private market into affordable homes.
Two-Year Bills: Support
AB 115 (Bloom)
Residential Housing in Commercial Zoning
This bill would allow residential housing in commercial zones if certain conditions are met, including 20% of the units being made available for low-income households.
AB 115 aligns with Policy Solution C2 in the Roadmap Home to allow housing to be built in commercial and mixed-use zones when at least 20% of the homes are affordable to low-income households.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.