Sens. Beall and Skinner Propose $2 Billion Bill to Shelter Homeless & Expand Affordable Housing

February 21, 2018

SACRAMENTO –   Senate Bill 912, a proposal to allocate $2 billion to house and help the homeless and families with low and moderate incomes, was unveiled today by joint authors, Senator Jim Beall, D-San Jose, and Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.

Under SB 912, the Department of Housing and Community Development would direct funds to cities & counties for homeless and affordable housing projects. The bill would help California deal with the impact of cuts to federal housing programs and supports the call from the mayors of California’s 11 largest cities for funding to combat homelessness.

SB 912 would utilize $2 billion of this year's higher than anticipated state revenue as a one-time investment to deal with homelessness and the shortage of affordable housing.

“There can be no better investment than to immediately put these dollars to work to shelter the homeless, the aged, and children,’’ said Beall, the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. “Taking a portion of available revenue will help people today and still leave a sufficient rainy day fund for tomorrow.’’

"Seeing the increasing numbers of tent cities and homeless encampments it's obvious we have an urgent issue that needs immediate attention" said Skinner.

Recent actions by Trump and Congressional Republicans to defund affordable housing tax credits combined with anticipated cuts to safety net programs will plunge even more Californians into homelessness. SB 912 builds on last year's housing bills including Senator Beall's SB 3 that put a $4 billion bond measure  on the ballot to fund housing for low-income families, seniors, homeless, and veterans. Last year's SB 3 was designed to leverage about $11 billion in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that are now at risk. Passing SB 912 this year will help make up for federal cuts and expedite investments needed in communities now.

“There will come a day when California will be able to re-establish a partnership with the federal government, but we cannot wait and neither can our cities and counties,’’ Beall said. “In the face of disastrous federal policies, it is clear that the Legislature must do the responsible thing for Californians.’’

“We're seeing judges up and down the state weigh in demanding that government at all levels do more to address this crisis" said Skinner. “Partnering with our local governments and homeless/housing providers is essential. Past action on No Place Like Home and last year's housing bills combined with SB 912 demonstrates our commitment."

“Local governments have a vital role to play in addressing the crisis of homelessness,’’ said Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, “and as state legislators we need to assist local leaders who can provide shelter and support for people in need. We have lost too many people to homelessness, mental illness and poverty. It's time for them to come home."

Earlier this month, the mayors of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Oakland, Anaheim, and Santa Ana signed a letter sent to Assembly and Senate leadership, requesting expanded funding to eliminate homelessness.

“The homeless crisis is severely impacting thousands of families and children; it is costing lives and livelihoods,’’ the Mayor's letter said. “It is also impacting our local businesses – from local storefronts to the greater tourism industry. The crisis and the solution we seek has no geographical boundaries, as it is felt in nearly every corner of California, nor is it a partisan issue.’’