Bill Making it Easier to Build Emergency and Permanent Housing Heads to Governor’s Desk

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

SACRAMENTO – AB 1197, a measure authored by California State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), earned way to the Governor’s desk today. The bill would ensure that state and local funding to build temporary and supportive housing projects are spent more quickly and efficiently in the City of Los Angeles.

As long as Californians are struggling to survive in our streets, we have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to provide the shelter and assistance they need to get back on their feet,” Santiago said. “AB 1197 will clear the way for public dollars to be spent on alleviating this nightmarish crisis as quickly as possible.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), principal coauthor of the bill, added, “I carried this bill on the Senate Floor and we made it an urgency matter because the homeless crisis is urgent. Both houses of the Legislature overwhelmingly adopted these changes to break down barriers and get people into shelter.”

“Voters in Los Angeles spoke clearly and acted decisively when they backed landmark investments in solutions to our homelessness crisis – and our city and state are working every day to turn those dollars into housing and beds for our unsheltered neighbors,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I’m proud to sponsor Assemblymember Santiago’s legislation, which will help accelerate our efforts by ending the cycle of unnecessary litigation, removing needless obstacles to construction, and smoothing the way to more bridge housing shelters, more permanent supportive housing units, and more steps to bring homeless Angelenos indoors.”

Elise Buik, President & CEO of United Way Greater Los Angeles said, “AB 1197 is a critically needed bill, and it will help us create more of the solutions to homelessness that we desperately need. I thank Assemblymember Santiago for his leadership – this would not have happened without his vision, and tens of thousands of people will benefit because of it.”

AB 1197 expands California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for certain supportive housing projects at a time when the number of Angelenos experiencing homelessness is at an all-time high.  The Senate passed this bill by a 35 to 0 vote on Tuesday, and by a 71 to 0 vote in the Assembly today.

If signed, this will exempt from CEQA, until January 1, 2025, funding actions carried out by the City of Los Angeles for supportive housing and emergency shelters that are funded in part or in whole by Proposition HHH, Measure H, No Place Like Home, SB 2 (Atkins), the Homeless Emergency Aid Program and the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention program.

Governor Newsom is expected to take action on the bill – with either his signature or his veto – by October 13, 2019.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, and a member of both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.