Evidenced-Based Solutions to California’s Homelessness and Housing Affordability Crisis
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to learn how our program, Roadmap Home 2030, is geared to transform housing affordability in California.
Housing California pursues two primary strategies to advance housing affordability and homelessness solutions: land use and finance policy.
Land use policy
Land use policy refers to local and state-level laws that govern where housing can and cannot be built, and the size and density at which housing can be built. Historically, and today, land use policy has been used to prohibit the development of affordable housing and to create racial and economic-based segregation. We must reimagine how we use our land to promote healthy, affordable homes and inclusive communities, and to escape the trap of ever-increasing urban sprawl, traffic, and pollution.
Finance policy refers to local, state, and federal funding for the construction and preservation of affordable housing and for programs that provide housing and services. Substantial and reliable financial resources are fundamental to support evidence-based programs that help people permanently exit homelessness and create homes affordable to low-income households.
The Roadmap Home 2030 demonstrates concretely how we can Promote Fairness in our tax and finance systems and create the revenue needed to Invest in Our Values.
In addition, Housing California works closely with our partners to advance protections that prevent displacement of low-income residents from their homes and communities, in many cases prevent people from falling into homelessness, and protect both renters and unhoused people from discrimination.
Check out the Roadmap Home for specific examples of how we can Protect People from housing discrimination and from losing their homes.
Housing California also promotes structural reform in our housing and homelessness systems. Structural reforms include changes in the operations and frameworks used to address housing and homelessness, involve multiple stakeholders, and zero in on institutional problems. This includes improving communication between the various organizations, government agencies, and other stakeholders involved to provide stronger alignment, consistent compliance, and overall easier access to programs and services.
The Roadmap Home includes strategies to Create Efficiency and Accountability by establishing clear leadership, streamlined processes, and seamless coordination.
As the number one voter concern in California, the impact of homelessness and the need for affordable housing is difficult to deny. The solutions require champions and advocates to lift up the message. It is critical that there is continued focus on long-term strategies through political will, dedicated leadership, and, most importantly, ongoing revenue to implement the policy and structural changes necessary to end homelessness in California.
If there’s a silver bullet for solving housing insecurity and homelessness, it’s the need for a comprehensive set of evidence-based, equity-centered solutions at scale. The Roadmap Home 2030 provides more than 50 solutions that, if fully implemented, would advance racial equity, end homelessness, and create stable, affordable homes for all Californians by addressing the underlying causes of housing insecurity and homelessness. Below are, in broad terms, examples of the key evidence-based interventions and solutions that Housing California promotes. Check out Housing California’s Policy Agenda to see how we translate solutions into legislation.
Interventions refer to practices and programs that reduce the likelihood that someone will experience homelessness. This includes providing for those who have been homeless with the resources and support needed to stabilize their housing, enhance integration and social inclusion, and ultimately reduce the risk of falling back into homelessness.
Affordable housing focuses on providing affordable homes to low-income individuals and families and to people experiencing homelessness (PEH) who do not need intensive services. For more on affordable housing and how it’s created, click here.
Key affordable housing strategies in the Roadmap Home include expanding state affordable housing rental and homeownership programs, permanently expanding the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, providing funding to local jurisdictions, and allowing denser development in high-opportunity areas for affordable and mixed-income housing developments.
Permanent Supportive Housing
Supportive housing, or Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), is permanent and affordable housing, accompanied by intensive supportive services, such as case management and connection to substance use, mental health, and medical treatment. This type of intervention shows an increase in housing retention and service engagement, and it is less costly for communities because housed people are less likely than those experiencing homelessness to use emergency services, hospitals, jails, and emergency shelters.
The Roadmap Home proposes flexible ongoing funding for local jurisdictions to build supportive housing, among other solutions.
Rental subsidies provide a subsidy to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to help them to pay their rent. Rental subsidy programs can be structured in various ways, such as providing a fixed amount of subsidy, basing it off the household’s income, or as rapid rehousing, which is a short-term rental subsidy, often paired with services, which initially pays the entire rent and then phases out. This intervention usually includes limited ongoing support such as landlord mediation.
The Roadmap Home includes an expansion of federal Housing Choice Vouchers, the largest rental subsidy program.
Shelters are not permanent housing but are a short-term, reactive solution that offers an immediate response but not a long-term solution. Shelters are best used as a low-barrier, emergency intervention for people experiencing homelessness, and as an entryway into the homelessness system, where people can be referred to permanent, affordable housing and services. This is part of the coordinated entry system.
Eviction prevention programs provide assistance to renters at risk of losing their homes and potentially becoming homeless. This approach is meant to intervene before people experience a crisis that leads them to become homeless.
The Roadmap Home includes expanding rent control and just cause eviction protections, providing a right to counsel for renters facing eviction, and removing barriers to accessing housing on the market, such as criminal record searches and credit scores.
The solution to homelessness is a home
Housing First is the only evidence-based framework for solving homelessness. Housing First insists that providing a permanent, safe, affordable and immediate home to people experiencing homelessness – without a restricted length of stay – is the surest way to help people exit homelessness. In other words, the solution to homelessness is a home. But Housing First does not mean housing only; services are critical both to helping people access permanent housing quickly and, for some, providing services to allow people to live independently and stably in housing.
Housing First is a guiding principle of the Roadmap Home.
To dive further into evidence-based, equity-centered policy solutions, visit www.RoadmapHome2030.org.