Governor OKs Leasing Unused Caltrans Land in San Jose & L.A. for the Homeless

September 17, 2018

SAN JOSE --  Sen. Jim Beall’s legislation allowing the cities of San Jose and Los Angeles to lease Caltrans properties to serve the homeless was signed into law by Governor Brown today.

Under SB 519, co-authored by both Beall and Senator Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, the cities would be able to lease up to 10 parcels of unused Caltrans land at a cost of only $1 per month. The bill calls for the properties to be used as sites for emergency shelter or programs that provide food.

“The cities can use the state funding they receive to establish emergency housing and support services on those unused parcels,’’ Beall said.

“SB 519 provides a solution for communities that simply cannot find a place to offer housing or shelter to people who are homeless. In San Jose, I’ve worked with Caltrans to identify nine unused parcels that can be utilized for the homeless. I urge city officials to act quickly to examine these parcels and begin providing services to stabilize people’s lives. The Caltrans parcels are a better, safer, and more suitable alternative than existing sites, such as the state property located under the approach and take-off paths for Mineta San Jose International Airport that was occupied by Hope Village.’’

SB 519 augments steps taken by the Legislature’s 2018-19 budget to invest $608 million for housing and services for homeless people. Los Angeles’ allocation totals more than $166 million and San Jose/Santa Clara County will receive nearly $29 million.

Both cities are experiencing surging homeless populations. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the county’s homeless population is about 58,000.  The Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey placed the region’s homeless population at 7,400.