Assemblymember David Chiu Announces Effort to Tackle Homelessness Crisis

Monday, February 12, 2018

SACRAMENTO--Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) today announced a legislative package aimed at alleviating California’s deepening homelessness crisis.  The package includes a budget request of $1 billion in one-time funding to build affordable housing and support programs designed to help California’s chronically homeless individuals. Today’s plan also includes two bills, one to streamline approvals for permanent supportive housing and a measure to centralize across state agencies data related to homelessness.

“No one should have to sleep on the streets of the Golden State,” said Assemblymember Chiu, chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.  “But every night, 134,000 Californians have no place to call home, and that number is only increasing. We must take bold steps to increase supportive housing production and services for homeless individuals and make sure those resources are used efficiently.”

The $1 billion request letter to the Assembly Budget Committee was signed by Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), and Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) in addition to Chiu. Of that request, $500 million would go toward programs that target the state’s chronically homeless population and $500 million would go to the Multifamily Housing Program for affordable housing developments that need additional funding to move forward.

While the passage of the historic housing package last year was an important step toward alleviating homelessness and the housing affordability crisis, the funding generated from those bills and the implementation of those measures will not be fully realized until next year. California needs an immediate one-time funding boost to jumpstart affordable housing and supportive housing production. Funding gaps for many projects are anticipated as a result of the federal tax plan and the reductions in value of federal low income housing tax credits.

Assembly Bill 2162 streamlines the approval process for supportive housing projects across the state.  Despite evidence that supportive housing has proven to be an effective way to address chronic homelessness, these projects often face vocal opposition that leads to costly delays.  AB 2162 will mandate by-right approval of affordable housing developments that contain 35 percent supportive housing and on-site supportive services.  Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) is a joint author of the bill and, Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) are co-authors of the bill.  The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and Housing California are co-sponsors.

“Supportive housing can take three or more years to complete,” said Assemblymember Chiu.  “Californians experiencing homelessness cannot wait. This bill will ensure we are building supportive housing quickly and using our limited resources efficiently.”  

Assembly Bill 2161 was introduced by Assemblymember Chiu to establish a centralized database and compile agency data related to homelessness through the state’s Homeless Financing and Coordinating Council to better understand homelessness in California, determine the most effective programs, and fully account for the costs of homelessness to the state. Individuals experiencing homelessness often are unable to get the services they need because they must navigate complex public programs across multiple state and local agencies. Understanding how they navigate these programs and where gaps in services exist is crucial to California's success in tackling homelessness.

The bill will also require the Department of Housing and Community Development to produce a number of studies to understand the nexus between homelessness and other social programs.  Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), and Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) are co-authors of AB 2161. CSH is sponsoring the bill.