Proposed 2024 California Legislation Concerning Homelessness is Beginning to Advance
Bills Introduced in January Reveal the Kind of Actions That
Legislators Want to Become Law During the 2024 Legislative
Session to Help Mitigate the Statewide Homelessness Crisis
California legislation concerning homelessness began to advance when the Legislature reconvened on January 3, which initiated the 2024 legislative session. Several bills that focus on homelessness were introduced since January 3 and assigned and may be heard in committee by mid-February. A few have already been heard by committee and ordered to a second reading on the floor of the house of origin. Bills that focus on homelessness include:
This bill would increase the amount that a housing successor may expend on those homeless prevention and rapid rehousing services to $500,000. The bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to publish on its internet website an adjustment to the amount that may be expended by a housing successor to reflect any change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as specified.
Existing law authorizes 2 or more housing successors within a county to enter into an agreement to transfer funds among their respective Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Funds for the sole purpose of developing specified projects, including transit priority projects, permanent supportive housing, housing for agricultural employees, or regional homeless shelters, if certain conditions are met. Existing law prohibits a housing successor from transferring more than $1,000,000 per fiscal year under these provisions. Existing law requires transferred funds to only assist rental units affordable to, and occupied by, households earning 60% or less of the area median income.
This bill would additionally authorize a housing successor that receives a transfer of funds under these provisions to spend a maximum of $1,000,000 per fiscal year from its Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund for the specific project identified in the agreement between the jurisdictions. The bill would also authorize the use of transferred and host funds to assist a regional homeless shelter.
This bill would authorize counties to also establish mental health multidisciplinary personnel team, as defined, with the goal of facilitating the expedited identification, assessment, and linkage of justice-involved persons diagnosed with a mental illness to supportive services within that county while incarcerated and upon release from county jail and to allow provider agencies and members of the personnel team to share confidential information, as specified, for the purpose of coordinating supportive services to ensure continuity of care. The bill would require the sharing of information permitted under these provisions to be governed by protocols developed in each county, as specified, and would require each county to provide a copy of its protocols to the State Department of Social Services.
This bill would authorize the mental health multidisciplinary personnel team to designate qualified persons to be a member of the team for a particular case and would require every member who receives information or records regarding justice-involved persons, as defined, in their capacity as a member of the team to be under the same privacy and confidentiality obligations and subject to the same confidentiality penalties as the person disclosing or providing the information or records. The bill would also require the information or records to be maintained in a manner that ensures the maximum protection of privacy and confidentiality rights.
This bill would authorize a supportive housing development that is subject to the above-described use by right provisions to include administrative office space in its nonresidential floor area, provided that the total floor area dedicated to administrative office space does not exceed 50% of the total floor area dedicated to residential units. The bill would define “administrative office space” as an organizational headquarters or auxiliary office space utilized by a nonprofit organization for the purpose of providing onsite supportive services at a supportive housing development and other nonprofit operations. The bill would specify that “administrative office space” includes parking necessary to serve the office space. By expanding the use by right provisions to include administrative office space, the bill would expand the exemption for approval of ministerial projects under CEQA.
This bill would also specify that “supportive housing” specifically includes transitional housing for youth and young adults for purposes of the use by right provisions described above.
This bill would establish the Senior Tenant Shallow Rental Subsidy Program of 2024. The bill would require the department, upon appropriation by the legislature, to establish and administer a grant program for cities and counties to provide subsidies for senior citizens at risk of homelessness. The bill would require that, of the grants awarded pursuant to the program, 50% of the funds be awarded to localities with at least 250,000 residents, and 50% be awarded to localities with less than 250,000 residents. The bill would require funds awarded through the program be obligated by no later than July 31, 2025. The bill would authorize the department to reallocate any part of an award that is not so obligated to other grantees participating in the program that meet specified requirements. The bill would require a grantee to award rental subsidies to individuals, not to exceed $500 per month for up to 18 months, based on specified requirements. The bill would establish the Senior Tenant Shallow Rental Subsidy Program of 2024 Fund in the State Treasury, and would provide moneys in the fund be allocated, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the department for use in accordance with the program.
This bill would require each campus of the California State University and the California Community Colleges, and would request the University of California, to allow overnight parking by a student attending its campus if the student uses the vehicle as housing, the student has a valid parking permit issued by the campus, and the vehicle is parked in or on a campus-owned and controlled parking lot or parking structure. The bill would additionally prohibit each campus of the California State University and the California Community Colleges from citing or otherwise penalizing, and would request each campus of the University of California to not cite or otherwise penalize, a student attending its campus for using a vehicle as housing if specified circumstances apply. To the extent the bill would impose new requirements on community colleges, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Existing law establishes the California Statewide Housing Plan, developed in cooperation with the private housing industry, regional and local housing and planning agencies, and other agencies of the state, to serve as a state housing plan. Existing law requires the plan to incorporate specified segments, including a review of housing assistance policies, goals, and objectives affecting the homeless.
This bill would recast that provision to require the plan to incorporate, in consultation with the Interagency Council on Homelessness and utilizing data from the Homeless Data Integration system, a review of housing assistance, policies, goals, and objectives affecting people experiencing homelessness.
This bill, by January 1, 2030, would require each city and county to provide housing opportunities, as defined, for homeless individuals within its jurisdiction, based on their most recent point-in-time count. The bill would require each city and county to develop a housing obligation plan that describes how the city or county plans to increase housing opportunities in its jurisdiction so that it can offer at least one housing opportunity to each homeless individual, as specified. In this regard, the bill would require a housing obligation plan to include, among other things, goals and plans to fulfill the city or county’s housing obligation, including specific projects and completion timelines, and the city or county’s progress in reducing the number of homeless individuals in its jurisdiction. The bill would require a housing obligation plan to identify steps taken by the city or county to consult with other jurisdictions to ensure that the plan is consistent with regional homelessness planning efforts. The bill would require a city or county to submit its housing obligation plan to the Department of Housing and Community Development for review and post the plan to its internet website by January 1, 2025. The bill would require a city or county to update its housing obligation plan on or before January 1 of each subsequent year.
This bill would establish the Homeless Housing Obligation Fund in the State Treasury. The bill would require moneys to be deposited in the fund upon appropriation by the Legislature and would require those moneys to be awarded by the Department of Housing and Community Development as grants to cities, counties, and nonprofit housing entities for the purpose of fulfilling the housing obligations required by these provisions, and would specify eligible uses of the grant funding. The bill would require the grant funding to be allocated to projects that provide housing to individuals that are homeless, individuals that are previously homeless, individuals that are at risk of homelessness, and extremely low income households, as specified.
This bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt regulations to implement these provisions.
Existing law, the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act, authorizes specified adult persons to petition a civil court to create a voluntary CARE agreement or a court-ordered CARE plan and implement services, to be provided by county behavioral health agencies, to provide behavioral health care, including stabilization medication, housing, and other enumerated services, to adults who are currently experiencing a severe mental illness and have a diagnosis identified in the disorder class schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and who meet other specified criteria.
This bill would, upon appropriation, establish the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Scholarship Program. The bill would require the department to administer the annual scholarship for purposes of increasing the number of culturally competent licensed marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional clinical counselors, and psychologists, as specified. The bill would require scholarship recipients to agree to work for county behavioral health agencies in meeting its needs and obligations to implement the CARE Act for a minimum of 3 years upon being licensed to practice in this state. The bill would require the department to post information related to the scholarship on its internet website.
This bill would, upon an appropriation by the Legislature for this express purpose, require the Department of Housing and Community Development, commencing January 1, 2024, to begin developing the Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities Housing Stability Program. The bill would require the department, in administering the program, to offer competitive grants to nonprofit community-based organizations, continuums of care, public housing authorities, and area agencies on aging, as specified, to administer a housing subsidy program for older adults and adults with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, as defined.
This bill would require the department, in establishing the program guidelines, to prioritize communities in which a higher proportion of renters face severe rental cost burden than the state average. The bill would create the Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities Housing Stability Fund from which funds would be allocated by the department to eligible recipients though December 31, 2028, for these purposes.
This bill would require an award recipient to use grant funds for specified activities, including housing subsidies up to the amount of reasonable rent until the participant is able to access a longer-term subsidy, no longer requires the housing subsidy, or the specified expenditure period expires and relocation costs if a landlord decides not to continue participating in the program or evicts a tenant, as specified. The bill would authorize a grantee to utilize up to 15% of its allocation for landlord recruitment and tenancy acquisition services, landlord incentives, and housing navigation and tenancy transition services, as defined.
This bill would additionally authorize a person to be taken into custody, pursuant to those provisions, by a licensed mental health professional, as defined.
As used in this section, “licensed mental health professional” means a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, or a licensed professional clinical counselor who has completed all required supervised clinical experience, who is designated by the county.
Section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
When a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others or to themselves, or is gravely disabled, a peace officer, licensed mental health professional, professional person in charge of a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment, member of the attending staff, as defined by regulation, of a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment, designated members of a mobile crisis team, or professional person designated by the county may, upon probable cause, take, or cause to be taken, the person into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention or placement for evaluation and treatment in a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment and approved by the State Department of Health Care Services. The 72-hour period begins at the time when the person is first detained. At a minimum, assessment, as defined in Section 5150.4, and evaluation, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 5008, shall be conducted and provided on an ongoing basis. Crisis intervention, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 5008, may be provided concurrently with assessment, evaluation, or any other service.
Next Legislative Steps
The legislative process, during which bills are considered and enacted by the Legislature, includes submitting bill requests to the Office of Legislative Counsel by January 19th where bills are drafted into bill form and returned to the legislator for introduction. The last day for bills to be introduced is February 16th.
Legislation and Proposed Budgeted Funding
Next legislative steps also include proposed budgeted funding. Every year, the Governor and the Legislature adopt a state budget that provides a framework and funding for critical public services and systems that include housing and homelessness.
The State Constitution requires the Governor to submit a proposed budget, which will include a detailed overview of the Governor’s proposed expenditures, to the Legislature for review by January 10th, including proposed budget funding for housing and homelessness. To see the Governor’s proposed budget concerning homelessness, click here.
While the proposed budget will move through the Legislature’s budget committee, other bills known as budget-related bills or trailer bills will be needed to implement the policies assumed in the budget.
Proposed budgeted funding will also occur by mid-May, which is known as the May Revision. The Governor will release on or before May 14th, an updated budget that adjusts proposed expenditures or withdraws policy initiatives that were included in the Governor’s proposed budget in January.
The Legislature must pass a balanced budget bill by midnight on June 15th for the upcoming fiscal year which begins July 1st. The Governor must sign the bill before July 1. Budget details will remain to be finalized and additional budget-related bills will likely be acted upon during the summer.
Legislative Process Continues
The legislative process also includes meetings of the legislative policy and appropriations/fiscal committees, three readings, and resolution of differences between the Assembly and Senate. If both houses approve a bill, it will go to the Governor for approval.
The last day for House policy committees to meet and report bills is July 3, which is also when the summer recess begins. When the Legislature reconvenes on August 5, each House may pass bills until August 31. The last day for the Governor to approve or not approve bills is September 30.
Thus, 2023 legislation concerning homelessness will continue to take shape during most of 2023. More bills will be introduced that will reveal the kind of actions that Legislators want to become law during the 2023 legislative session to further help mitigate the statewide homelessness crisis.
As in the past, the Legislature and Governor will not approve all of the bills as they try to maximize policy and funding to increase results regarding homelessness prevention and ending unsheltered homelessness, which was the case during past legislative sessions.
Most approved bills will go into effect on January 1, 2024.