Our Positions on California Bills & Budget Asks

 

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Important! If the bills and budget asks below would affect you, your organization, or the people you serve, please keep us on the ground in the state Capitol by becoming a Housing California member. (Find out if you're already a member. If not, please learn more about Housing California membership. ) 

 

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For 2016, California has a budget surplus of $2.8 billion, a number that could rise as revenue numbers come in. Given this, legislators and advocates lined up their proposals to make a case for the best use of the funds. 

 

While Governor Brown would like to use as much of the surplus as he can for the state's Rainy Day fund, others are calling to use them to fund transportation infrastructure, child care, and a wide range of other issues. Given the state's enormous housing affordability crisis and its far-reaching impacts, Housing California will continue to push hard to ensure that housing for struggling Californians -- including those experiencing homelessness -- is a high budget priority. As we've previously reported, legislators in both the Senate and Assembly elevated housing and homelessness as an issue in 2016 and advocated for use of some budget surplus funds to address California's housing affordability crisis. 

Assembly Budget Ask for Housing -- Housing affordability champions led by Assemblymember David Chiu and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond released a $650 million budget proposal for those priced out of the market -- particularly the rental market. This proposal was cut down to $400 million and the governor chose to tie it to his proposal to streamline local government market-rate housing approvals. Neither proposal looks to be moving forward, but Housing California will continue to make noise around the housing crisis. See our letter to leadership.

Senate Budget Ask for Homelessness -- As we previously reported, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (backed by a bipartisan group of Senators) proposed $2 billion for the No Place Like Home initiative. No Place Like Home includes funding for the "Bringing Families Home" pilot program, which would provide housing assistance to families whose children remain in the foster-care system solely due to the parents' lack of stable housing. An estimated one-third of the children in foster care could be reunited with their families if their families could afford a stable place to live. Housing California is advocating for $10 million for the first year in order to ensure success of the pilot program.

 
 

AB 718 (Chu)

 

  • The Problem: The lack of affordable places to live in California leaves few options for people experiencing homelessness. Those who own cars are often left with no choice but to use their cars for shelter and the little safety and security vehicles provide. As if this isn't difficult enough, these families are often cited for sleeping in their vehicles, giving them more bills and fines they're unable to pay.

  • The Solution: AB 718 would prohibit any peace officer (or other city or county employee engaged in parking enforcement) from issuing citations to individuals because they sleep in their cars. 

  • Our position: SPONSOR and SUPPORT

AB 801 (Bloom)

 

  • The Problem: Youth who are experiencing homelessness face huge challenges to leading successful lives. The odds are stacked against them. Those who successfully graduate high school while experiencing homelessness and remain motivated to attend college need a hand up in order to break the cycle of poverty and create better lives for themselves. 

  • The Solution: AB 801 would require public universities to give priority admission preferences to students who are homeless in the same way that foster youth receive a preference. 

  • Our position: SPONSOR and SUPPORT

AB 1760 (Santiago & Liu)

 

  • The Problem: Up to 60 percent of youth who are victims or at-risk of becoming victims of human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation are homeless. In many cases, these homeless youth have already experienced sexual and domestic abuse and it's often the reason many youth run away from home. Once on the street, they often become further victimized in human trafficking and then, on top of that, often face prosecution for sexual and non-violent crimes related to the coerced experience of being trafficked. Treating youth, particularly vulnerable homeless youth, as criminals  because they've been trafficked not only further traumatizes the youth, but it also makes it even more difficult for them to find housing, employment, and services that would allow them to lift themselves out of homelessness.

  • The Solution: AB 1760 stops the senseless criminalization of trafficked minors for sex work or non-violent crimes related to trafficking victims by granting them immunity from prosecution. It also creates an interagency working group to develop a state plan to serve and protect sexually exploited and trafficked minors that incorporates developing specialized supportive services for these youth.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 1761 (Weber and Santiago)

 

  • The Problem: Youth between the ages of 18-24 who experience homelessness are extremely vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. A youth over 18 is a victim of human trafficking if that youth engages in sexual acts as a result of coercion, fraud, or force. Oftentimes this emerges in the form of "survival sex," where a youth is coerced into trading sex to meet basic needs for food and shelter. Frequently, these youths are prosecuted for non-violent crimes their trafficker forced them to commit. Treating youths as criminals because they've been trafficked not only further traumatizes the youths, but also makes it even more difficult for them to find housing, get a job, and access services that would allow them to lift themselves out of homelessness.

  • The Solution: AB 1761 creates an "affirmative defense" for human trafficking victims who are prosecuted for non-violent crimes that their trafficker forced them to commit. The affirmative defense gives the victim a greater chance of having their case heard and having their charges dismissed. The defense also applies to children charged with commercial sex crimes. This law would balance the scales of justice in favor of sexually exploited homeless youth by giving them a greater chance of avoiding an unfair conviction and a criminal record that could be the "make or break" difference in leading a successful adult life.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 1762 (Campos, Santiago, & Weber)

 

  • The Problem: Victims of human trafficking are often prosecuted and convicted of non-violent crimes they were forced to commit by their trafficker. They become further victimized when their criminal records prevent them from getting housing, jobs, and making the connections necessary to end the cycle of homelessness. Individuals, especially youths, experiencing homelessness are extremely vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking either through coercion or participation in "survival sex" (exchanging sex for basic necessities).

  • The Solution: AB 1762 will allow victims of human trafficking who were convicted of non-violent crimes that they were forced to commit by their trafficker to have their criminal records cleared. This ensures that survivors of human trafficking are not further victimized by long-terms barriers to housing and jobs that are associated with having a criminal record.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 1809 (Lopez)

 

  • The Problem: As part of the CalWORKs application process, applicants must undergo a review of their assets (savings, cars, etc.) This review communicates to families that they will be penalized for saving money, and encourages families to spend savings and engage in poor financial planning in order to remain eligible for CalWORKs assistance, discourages people who may qualify from applying, and is expensive for the state ($6.4 million per year).

  • The Solution: AB 1809 will eliminate asset review from the CalWORKs application process. Families will no longer self-select out of CalWORKs for fear that they will not pass the asset test. The bill will allow families receiving CalWORKs to save money and build assets without fear that they will lose the CalWORKs benefits that are helping them meet the basic needs for their families, including housing.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 1995 (Williams)

 

  • The Problem: Showers are a luxury many of us take for granted. Every day, numbers of community college students throughout California are trying to lift themselves up by getting degrees, but they can't even start their day with a shower because they are experiencing homeless. For those working so hard to create a future for themselves, their ability to complete their education is compromised when they lack the facilities to meet their most-basic needs.

  • The Solution: AB 1995 requires community college campuses that have shower facilities for students to grant access to those facilities to any student that presents as homeless, who is enrolled in coursework, has paid enrollment fees, and is in good standing.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 2346 (Baker)

 

  • The Problem: The California Department of Social Services holds more than 100,000 hearings on human services programs, including CalWORKs. People involved in the hearings are required to go to their county department of social services to get a copy of the county's "Statement of Position" in preparation for the hearing. People involved in the hearings may be disabled, elderly, blind, homeless, or without adequate transportation. By only providing these statements in hard copy at county offices, the counties force vulnerable people to miss work, incur transportation costs, or forgo the opportunity to be adequately prepared for their hearings and risk losing benefits vital to their wellbeing.

  • The Solution: AB 2346 will create better access to county "Statements of Positions" and improve individuals' ability to represent themselves in hearings by making the statements available in an electronic format, online, at least two days prior to a hearing.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

AB 2821 (Chiu)

 

  • The Problem: Homelessness often creates a circuit, where those experiencing it long enough cycle through living on the streets, emergency rooms, hospital stays, jails, and nursing homes. This circuit is expensive to our public systems. Individuals experiencing homelessness cost our public systems an average of $2,897 per month, two-thirds of which is incurred through the health system.  Although these individuals may receive medical and social services, without the stability of housing, they're usually unable to follow regimens and make choices that make services effective.

  • The Solution: AB 2821 creates a Medi-Cal Housing Program that would allow thousands of Californians to exit the cycle of homelessness (and this "circuit") by linking Medi-Cal services with housing. Housing gives people the stability to stick to a medical regimen, keep in contact with a primary care doctor, and live a healthy lifestyle that will help keep them housed and reduce the expensive costs to our public systems. AB 2821 goes one step further, by capturing the cost-savings of moving a person from the street into housing and redirecting those cost-savings back into more life-saving housing.

  • Our position: SPONSOR and SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Joe Boniwell

SB 876 (Liu)

 

  • The Problem: It is not against the law to experience homelessness, but throughout California local governments are wasting resources citing and criminalizing people for not having a home.

  • The Solution: SB 876 will allow people who experiencing homelessness to eat, rest, and practice religion in public spaces without threat of citation or arrest. It will end the wasteful spending of public funds on criminalizing families and individuals without homes.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Joe Boniwell

     

     

SB 1013 (Beall)

 

  • Problem: In 2007, Housing California and the Corporation for Supportive Housing sponsored a successful budget ask to fund supportive housing (affordable developments with intensive services promoting housing stability) to reduce recidivism among homeless, mentally ill parolees. The program -- the Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolee Program (ISMIP) currently funds day treatment services, but funds very little supportive housing and, therefore, is not having a large impact on reducing recidivism. As a result, the Legislative Analyst’s Office identified ISMIP as a program that has failed to achieve any consistent metrics or decrease recidivism.

  • Solution: SB 1013 ensures that ISMIP funds housing with services that promote housing stability and reduce recidivism. The bill requires ISMIP funds to be used to fund housing and services for parolees with mental illness who are experiencing homelessness.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Joe Boniwell

SB 1056 (Liu)

 

  • The Problem: Children who are separated from their parents and in foster care are being prevented from being reunited with their families, even after their parents comply with their case plans because the parents' housing situation is unstable.

  • The Solution: SB 1056 requires counties to consider housing options for families with children in foster care, provided the parents are in compliance with their case plan and housing is the sole impediment to family reunification. It also authorizes a court to reunite a family within five days of a parent securing appropriate housing.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

 

AB 2031 (Bonta)

 

  • Problem: The largest source of local funding for affordable development disappeared when redevelopment agencies were dissolved in 2012. Before they were dissolved, 20 percent of the property "tax-increment" funds that redevelopment collected were designated for affordable development. Although redevelopment agencies are gone, property "tax-increment" funds still come back to cities and counties. These returning funds to cities and counties are referred to as "boomerang funds." The loss of redevelopment, combined with no significant, ongoing state investment on the horizon, means that cities and counties struggle to find funding to meet the housing needs of their residents. They need flexibility to create ongoing funding sources to invest in affordable development.

  • Solution: AB 2031 gives cities the authority to approve issuance of bonds for affordable development that will be paid for with any portion of its "boomerang funds" without voter approval. There is no fiscal impact to the state's General Fund and no property taxes would be diverted from the other taxing entities.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

AB 2140 (Hernandez)

 

  • Problem: California's farmworkers struggle to find affordable places to live. And, while housing tax credits are a key piece to making affordable development possible, over the years, laws that improved the overall state housing tax credit program did not create the same benefits for the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit Program. There is a need to bring equality to the tax credit program, both from a fiscal and policy perspective, to help build housing affordable to California's farmworkers.

  • Solution: The Solution: AB 2140 would make the following technical changes to the Farmworker Housing Assistance Tax Credit Program: 1) Change the occupancy requirement from 100% to 50%, 2) Allow a Farmworker Housing Tax Credit development to receive the 130% boost consistent with other existing state tax credit program rules, and 3) Increase the value of the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit to better utilize the state's private activity bond authority and the 4% federal tax credit, thus enhancing its viability as a financial instrument for developing farmworker housing.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

AB 2501 (Bloom)

 

  • Problem: State Density Bonus law encourages market-rate developers to include affordable apartments within their developments. It does this by providing incentives to developers, including allowing them to build more-dense developments (more apartments per acre). However, the law has a number of unclear provisions that actually discourage developers from using it, or are used by cities and counties to prevent developers from using it.

  • Solution: AB 2501 would address a number of vague provisions of Density Bonus law and strengthen Density Bonus incentives. It would clarify the legislative intent of the law is to encourage the development of affordable apartments and that the incentives provided for in the law are available "by right" to housing providers who include affordable apartments. This bill would ensure that local governments process Density Bonus applications quickly and efficiently, create certainty that inaction by a city or county will not delay their proposed housing development, clarify that applicants for a density bonus do not need to provide financial justifications for the incentives they're requesting, and increase certainty regarding the number of additional apartments a developer gets to build as a result of the density increase. It would also limit city and counties' ability to impose additional requirements on Density Bonus developers that are intended to block development, for example design and size limitations that make inclusion of affordable apartments infeasible.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

AB 2502 (Mullin/Chiu)

 

  • Problem: Local governments have lost a vital tool to address the lack of affordable rental housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods, effectively excluding people with low-incomes. Families who would otherwise have access to opportunity and be able to lift themselves out of poverty remain held down, without access to good schools, jobs, and healthy communities.

  • Solution: AB 2502 would allow local governments to enforce mixed-income (aka inclusionary) zoning ordinances that require a portion of new rental housing to be available at rents affordable to people priced out of the rental market. This will allow more people to live in the neighborhoods where they work, send their children to good schools, and break the cycle of poverty. This bill will have the same language as AB 1229 (Atkins) from 2013.

  • Our position: SUPPORT 

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

AB 2817 (Chiu)

 

  • Problem: One of the biggest challenges faced by affordable developers is the lack of funding to build affordable apartments. The state needs to invest more funding in the development of housing that is accessible and affordable to struggling families. Two of the best funding sources -- the state and federal housing tax credit programs -- are currently underutilized. As a direct result of California's underinvestment in housing, millions of federal dollars are being left on the table every year that California could be using to address our housing crisis.

  • Solution: AB 2817 would expand the state's housing tax credit program by $300 million and increase the Farmworker Housing Tax credit to $25 million. In addition to helping developers build more affordable places to live, increasing the state housing tax credits will also let California access an additional $600 million in federal housing funding and give the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in additional tax and fee revenues (generated through the construction and maintenance of affordable apartments).

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

AB 2734 (Atkins)

 

  • Problem: One of the biggest challenged faced by affordable developers is the lack of funding available to build apartments and homes that remain affordable. In just the past 8 years, public investment in affordable development has plummeted 66 percent -- including more than $1 billion/year that vanished when California's redevelopment agencies were dissolved. In order to meet California's growing need for housing that's affordable, the state must create an ongoing source of investment for affordable development. 

  • Solution: AB 2734 enacts the Local Control Affordable Housing Act, which will use the state savings realized from the dissolution of redevelopment agencies (RDAs) to fund state housing programs. This bill directs the state Department of Finance to determine the amount of General Fund savings as a result of the dissolution of RDAs (each year going forward), and allocate 50 percent of the savings to the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for both state-level programs and for the creation of a local housing program. For the local program, the bill specifies that HCD will create an equitable funding formula for distributing funds to local agencies that will be geographically balanced and take into account identified factors of need.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

SB 873 (Beall)

 

  • Problem: One of the biggest challenges faced by affordable developers is the lack of funding to build affordable apartments. State housing tax credits comprise a critical piece of funding that developers need to build affordable apartments. Investors purchase state housing tax credits from developers, which -- under current law -- makes the investors partial owners of the development. As they become owners of the development, each investors' federal income increases and they are subsequently taxed at the 35 percent corporate tax rate. This tax effectively reduces the net value of every dollar's worth of state housing tax credits they purchased to only $0.65.

  • Solution: SB 873 would eliminate the state housing tax credit's "ownership" requirement, thereby increasing the value of every housing tax credit that investors purchase. This increase in value of every state housing tax credit purchased will incentive investment in state tax credits, which in turn will support the development of much-needed affordable apartments for Californians priced out of the rental market.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

SB 879 (Beall)

 

  • Problem:  One of the biggest challenges faced by affordable developers is the lack of funding to build affordable apartments. In just the past 8 years, public investment in affordable development has plummeted 66 percent -- including more than $1 billion/year that vanished when California's redevelopment agencies were dissolved.

  • Solution: SB 879 would enact the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2016, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $3 billion. Proceeds would be used to finance various existing housing programs, as well as infill infrastructure financing and affordable-development matching grant programs. The proposal uses permit fees on vaction rentals by owner to offset the budget impact of bond repayment. This would ensure a one-time infusion of funds into tried-and-true programs that have created homes affordable to those struggling to make ends meet.

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

 

AB 1758 (Stone)

 

  • Problem: High-speed ("broadband") Internet access (both wired or wireless) has become essential for economic competitiveness, quality of life, and success in school. Economic studies confirm that the use of broadband technologies increases economic productivity as a foundation for increased efficiency in organizational operations and enhanced profitability in business. Under a previous law, underserved and rural communities receive broadband access funded by a fee on telecommunications customers. The previous law set a goal to approve funding to create broadband access to no less than 98% of California households. The fee is set to expire December 31, 2016; however, more time is needed to achieve the established goal. 

  • Solution: AB 1758 will extend the expiration date to December 31, 2023 in order to continue providing broadband access to underserved and rural communities (including dedicated funding for broadband to affordable developments) in order to meet the program goal.  

  • Our position: SUPPORT

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley

SB 1053 (Leno)

 

  • Problem: Affordable rental housing is difficult enough to find. Landlords who discriminate against people simply because they receive rental assistance (like Housing Choice Vouchers) make the problem even worse and put more and more Californians at risk of homelessness.  

  • Solution: SB 1053 would prohibit landlords from rejecting tenant applications based upon the tenant's source of income, including Housing Choice Vouchers. It would amend the definition of "source of income" to include specified federal, state, or local housing assistance or subsidies paid either to the tenant or directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. 

  • Our position: SUPPORT 

  • Lead advocate: Tyrone Buckley 

State of Emergency on Homelessness:

What is the State of Emergency on Homelessness?

Vision

A California in which no one is homeless and everyone can afford a safe, stable place to call home in a healthy and vibrant community.

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Housing California

1107 9th Street, Suite 560

Sacramento, CA 95814

p. 916.447.0503

f. 916.447.1900

staff@housingca.org

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