On Wednesday, a bill that would provide $2 billion to fight homelessness and create affordable housing passed out of committee.
Back in March, AB 3300 was introduced which would set aside $2 billion every year from the state budget to help get people off the streets and into housing. The bill would provide $1.1 billion to counties and service organizations, $800 million to cities with a population over 300,000 and $100 million to nonprofit housing developers.
The bill passed in a 6-1 vote.
According to the Bill:
By executive order, the Governor required the Department of Finance to establish the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, administered by the State Department of Social Services, to provide funding for additional affordable housing units, providing rental and operating subsidies, and stabilizing board and care homes.
This bill, the California Access to Housing and Services Act, would establish the California Access to Housing and Services Fund in the State Treasury and continuously appropriate moneys in the fund solely for the purpose of implementing and administering the bill’s provisions. The bill, for the 2020–21 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, would require the Controller to transfer $2,000,000,000 from the General Fund to the fund and require the Department of Housing and Community Development and the State Department of Social Services to jointly administer the fund pursuant to a memorandum of understanding, as provided. The bill would require the departments, in collaboration with the California Health and Human Services Agency and after deduction for administrative costs and certain allocations to the Governor’s Office to End Homelessness, if the bill establishing that office is enacted, to allocate 55% of the moneys in the fund to counties and continuums of care that apply jointly, 45% to large cities, and 5% to developers operating in unincorporated areas and cities that are not eligible for an allocation. The bill would define various terms for these purposes. The bill would require that recipients and subrecipients ensure that any expenditure of moneys allocated to them serve the eligible population, as defined, unless otherwise expressly provided in the bill.
The bill would require eligible recipients to apply for allocations and require the departments to evaluate those applications based on specified criteria and make annual allocations, as provided. The bill would require recipients to contractually obligate 100% of the amount allocated to them under the bill within 4 years, and expend the entirety of that amount within 5 years, of entering into a grant agreement with the departments, except for moneys used to provide a capitalized operating subsidy reserve, which the bill would require to be expended over a period of at least 17 years. If a developer awarded moneys under the bill does not comply with these time periods, the bill would require that the allocation revert to the fund. If a county and continuum of care or a large city does not comply with these time periods, is otherwise not in compliance with specified requirements under the bill, or does not apply for an allocation, the bill would require the departments to designate an alternate entity to administer the allocation until the departments approve a compliance plan submitted by the recipient, as provided. The bill would require the departments to evaluate the outcomes of the program and submit a report to specified committees of the Legislature every 5 years, beginning on January 1, 2023, as provided.
The bill would specify various requirements for counties and continuums of care to jointly apply, and for a large city, to apply for allocations from the fund. The bill would also specify various eligible activities for which moneys allocated to counties and continuums of care that apply jointly or to large cities may expend moneys allocated to them, which generally include services offered in connection with providing permanent housing and supportive housing, in the case of joint allocations to counties and continuums of care, and capital expenditures to fund the creation of affordable housing and supportive housing, in the case of allocations to large cities. The bill would require recipients under these provisions to comply with specified requirements, including a requirement that the recipient match 25% of the amount allocated to it, and quality standards for housing units assisted under the bill. The bill would require the departments to establish a process for awarding grants to these recipients in subsequent years. The bill would also require the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide grants to eligible developers based on a competitive application process and require the recipient to use that grant for development, acquisition, rehabilitation, preservation, motel conversion, and capitalized operating subsidy reserves in accordance with specified requirements.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. If a local agency determines that a project is not subject to CEQA and approves or determines to carry out the project, CEQA authorizes the local agency to file a notice of exemption with the county clerk of each county in which the project will be located in a specified manner.
This bill would exempt from CEQA specified actions taken by a large city in connection with making land available or approving the development of low barrier interim interventions, affordable housing, or supportive housing funded under the bill. The bill would require the large city to file a notice of exemption with the clerk of the county in which the large city is located and the Office of Planning and Research in the manner specified above.