California Takes Action to Tackle Homelessness

California Takes Action to Tackle Homelessness

California announces $179.7 million in Homekey grants to create 710 homes in seven counties, for a total of 13,710 units created by Homekey.

The state expected to make the first purchase of small homes by the end of the month and, with the support of local partners, begin construction by the end of the year in an unprecedented effort to build new, free housing for homeless Californians.

California Governor Newsom signs new bills into law to further combat homelessness.

SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced multiple new efforts to address homelessness and provided an update on the state’s work to deliver 1,200 small homes to communities throughout California.

Today’s announcements advance the Administration’s multipronged and multi-billion dollar approach, using every tool available to address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness, including moving people in need of assistance off the streets and into housing.

What Governor Newsom said: “The state’s homelessness crisis has been decades in the making.  While there’s more work to be done, we are challenging the status quo with new, innovative solutions to get Californians off the streets and into housing.

Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), this latest $179.7 million in grants for Homekey will create 710 units through nine developments in Fresno, Los Angeles, Modesto, Sacramento, San Buenaventura, San Diego, and Visalia.

This announcement builds upon a $736 million investment to address homelessness statewide through the acquisition and construction of interim and permanent homeless housing.  With this additional round of funding, total Homekey units have expanded to 13,710 homes throughout the state.  For more information on Homekey grants, click HERE.

Additionally, the largest delivery of small homes in state history continues to gain momentum.  Since an announcement earlier this year by Governor Newsom to purchase 1,200 small homes, the Administration has made significant progress in working with local governments to deliver these units throughout the state.

The state and our local partners have moved quickly to select site locations, request bids, sign contracts, and pass trailer bill legislation to advance these projects by giving the California Department of General Services contracting and streamlining flexibility.  In July, Governor Newsom signed a trailer bill cutting red tape on procurement and construction for these small homes.  And just this month, the Newsom Administration is finalizing a contract for the state and locals to purchase these small homes – a contract available for these 1,200 units but also available as a template for any other local government in California that wants to use their own funds to buy these housing solutions.

“Here in San Jose, we’re doing our part to end the era of encampments, but our bold action at the city level would not be possible without support from the Governor, who is making a historic investment in what is, without doubt, the largest, most inhumane crisis we face today.  We are on track and moving full-speed ahead.” San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan

“Gov. Newsom’s office has been working closely with the city and county of Sacramento to build a tiny home village on Stockton Boulevard that will be a model for the rest of the state.  Residents will be embedded in a community wellness campus specializing in substance abuse disorder treatment and mental health care.  This combination of housing and assertive treatment is the recipe for helping our unhoused neighbors and providing relief to our neighborhoods.” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg

Small Homes Progress:

  • In July, the Legislature approved, and the Governor signed into law trailer bill legislation allowing more flexibility by the state to streamline this effort and get units on the ground faster.
  • Sacramento continues to move forward with the selection of two locations: Cal Expo in Sacramento and the newly announced Wellspace on Stockton Blvd.
  • San Jose has selected and approved a location in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority to provide land for all 200 of their small homes.
  • The state has advanced a procurement process for both the state and local jurisdictions that saves time and cuts red tape to speed up a process that is often time-consuming and costly.
  • The state has moved quickly to complete contracts to execute the purchase of small homes.  Purchases could begin as early as the end of October.

With the support of our local partners, the state anticipates the first groundbreaking to take place before the end of the year.

The Governor also signed the following legislative measures to help address homelessness:

AB 42 by Assemblymember James Ramos (D-San Bernardino) prohibits a local agency from imposing or enforcing any requirement to install fire sprinklers for temporary dwelling units with a total floor area of less than 250 square feet, meeting specific criteria.

AB 785 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) provides CEQA exemptions for certain activities undertaken by the City and County of Los Angeles and other eligible public agencies related to affordable housing, low barrier navigation centers, supportive housing, and transitional housing for youth and young adults.

AB 1285 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) requires continuums of care that share geographic boundaries with a city or county using state funding allocated pursuant to round five of the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) program or the Encampment Resolution Program (ERP) funding to additionally include in their regionally coordinated homelessness action plans evidence and an explanation of their collaboration with the city or county that specifies how people served through encampment resolution have or will be included in prioritization for permanent housing within coordinated entry systems.

AB 1377 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Los Angeles) requires applications or planning materials for state funding through the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) program appropriated on or after July 1, 2024, to include data and a narrative summary of quantifiable steps that the applicant has taken to improve the delivery of housing and services to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness on transit facilities owned and operated by a transit agency.

AB 1469 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D- Santa Clara) authorizes the Santa Clara Valley Water District to assist unsheltered people living along streams, in riparian corridors, or otherwise within the district’s jurisdiction, in consultation with a city or the County of Santa Clara, to provide solutions or improve outcomes for the unsheltered individuals.

AB 1607 by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) allows the Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency to transfer a portion of the revenue raised by a tax measure to the County of Los Angeles for programs that provide support and services to prevent and combat homelessness.

AB 1679 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) authorizes Los Angeles County to impose a transaction and use tax that exceeds the 2% statutory limitation and requires all revenue from the tax to be dedicated to addressing and preventing homelessness.

SB 91 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) eliminates January 1, 2025, sunset date on a provision of state law that exempts certain projects from CEQA that convert a motel, hotel, residential hotel, or hostel to supportive or transitional housing.  SB 91 also extends CEQA streamlining provisions for “environmental leadership transit projects” located within the County of Los Angeles that meet certain specified requirements.

SOURCE: California Governor


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