2021 Policy Agenda

Housing California’s 2021 Policy Agenda focuses on community members most in need of an affordable place to call home.

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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.

 
 
 

Support

 
 
 

AB 27 (Rivas) Signed by Governor

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 27 Fact Sheet

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 118 Fact Sheet

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 215 (Chiu) Signed by Governor

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 258 (Villapadua) – 2 year bill

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 362 (Quirk-Silva) Signed by Governor

Homeless Shelters: Safety Regulations

This bill would establish habitability standards for shelters and prohibit shelters with habitability violations from accessing state and federal funds.

AB 362 Fact Sheet

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 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 721 (Bloom) Signed by Governor

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 771 (Bennett)

Vehicles: Driver’s Licenses

This bill would waive driver’s license renewal fees for people experiencing homelessness.

AB 771 Fact Sheet

AB 977 (Gabriel) Signed by Governor

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 also 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.

AB 1043 (Bryan) Signed by Governor

Acutely Low Income

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.

AB 1220 (Rivas) Signed by Governor

Homelessness: California Interagency Council on Homelessness

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 1304 (Santiago) Signed by Governor

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.

AB 1304 Fact sheet

SB 17 (Pan) – 2 year bill

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 17 Fact Sheet

SB 57 (Wiener) – 2 year bill

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 57 Fact Sheet

SB 344 (Hertzberg) – 2 year bill

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 344 Fact Sheet

SB 629 (Roth)

Identification Cards

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.

SB 678 (Rubio)

Unaccompanied Women Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021

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 Fact Sheet

Oppose

 
 
 

AB 621 (Eggman) – 2 year bill

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.

SB 6 (Caballero)

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)

Environmental quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2021

(Previously SB 995). The bill would broaden the application and utilization of the 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 10 (Wiener) Signed by Governor

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).

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.

Neutral

AB 491 (Gonzalez) Signed by Governor

AB 787 (Gabriel) Signed by Governor

AB 989 (Gabriel) – 2 year bill

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.

SB 9 (Atkins) Signed by Governor

Housing development: approvals

Would allow by-right duplexes and by-right lot splits in single-family housing zones, affecting market-rate housing production.