Housing & Homelessness Legislation
California faced an unprecedented challenge with millions on the brink of eviction and foreclosure due to COVID-19. The State Assembly responded with strong leadership and helped keep renters and homeowners in their homes by creating new protections. With a strong commitment to keeping Californians off the streets and in housing, the Legislature approved Project Room Key, an emergency housing program to help homeless individuals at risk of COVID-19 find shelter. Members also approved nearly $1 billion to acquire permanent housing for California’s homeless residents, as well as support cities and counties in their efforts to end homelessness.
- $125 million went to COGs, specified counties, and other regional entities to increase housing planning and accelerate housing production, which includes developing and improving their RHNA methodology for the sixth cycle.
- $125 million went to jurisdictions to assist in planning for other activities related to meeting the sixth cycle RHNA, with funding distributed based on the population size of jurisdictions. Grants could be used for rezoning and encouraging development by updating planning documents and zoning ordinances, completing environmental clearances, performing infrastructure planning, revamping local planning processes, and covering of costs of temporary staffing or consultants needed for these purposes.
- Infill Infrastructure Grant Program $500 Million:
- $425 million to fund a competitive grant process for large jurisdictions. Eligible applicants within large jurisdictions are defined as any county over 250,000 in population, and any city within that county.
- $75 million to fund an over-the-counter process for small jurisdictions. Eligible applicants within small jurisdictions are defined as any county less than 250,000 in population, and any city within that county.
- $500 million in Housing Tax Credit funding
- $500 million in funding for middle income housing projects to help house middle income works like teachers and firefighters.
- $650 million for the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program, which provides for the distribution funds to assist local governments in addressing homelessness.
Signed by the Governor
AB 1482 (Chiu) limited rent-gouging in California by placing an upper limit on annual rent increases: 5% plus inflation. To prevent landlords from engaging in rent-gouging by evicting tenants, this bill also required that a landlord have and state a just cause, as specified, in order to evict tenants who have occupied the premises for a year. Both the rent cap and the just cause provisions are subject to exemptions including, among others: housing built in the past 15 years, single family residences unless owned by a real estate trust or a corporation. This bill sunsets after ten years and does not preempt any local rent control or just cause ordinances. Signed by the Governor.
AB 1783 (R. Rivas) established a streamlined, ministerial process for approval of qualifying farmworker housing projects. Signed by the Governor.
SB 329 (Mitchell) prohibited landlords from discriminating against tenants who rely upon housing assistance paid directly to landlords, such as a Section 8 voucher, to help them pay the rent. Signed by the Governor.
SB 330 (Skinner) restricted, for a period of five years, actions by cities and counties that would reduce the production of housing. Signed by the Governor.
- Allocates $300 million for round 2 of the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program, follows:
- $90 million to Continuums of Care (CoC)
- $130 million to each city, or city that is also a county that has a population of 300,000 or more as of January 1, 2020.
- $80 million to counties
- Created Project Home Key, which requires $550 million in funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness this includes, but is not limited to, the acquisition or rehabilitation of motels, hotels, or hostels.
- Provided $500 million in Housing Tax Credit funding.
Signed by the Governor.
AB 3088 (Chiu) establishes a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship, subject to numerous conditions, until January 31, 2021. Makes small landlords eligible for protections under the Homeowner Bill of Rights until 2023. Places minimal requirements on mortgage servicers and lenders in addressing mortgage forbearance. Signed by the Governor.