Landmark Legislation to Deliver Ongoing Homelessness Funding Makes Headway

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, AB 3300 cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on a 6-1 vote. Authored by several legislators representing different regions across the state, and supported by over a hundred local leaders, housing and homelessness advocates, this dual bill and budget proposal would allocate an ongoing investment of $2 billion to local governments to expedite the delivery of much needed housing and critical services.

California’s homelessness crisis will undoubtedly worsen due to the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19. A recent analysis estimates a 40 to 45 percent increase in homelessness by the end of 2020, and evidence of this increase is already being reported in California. The State must prioritize an adequate investment of funds to withstand a surge of homelessness and prevent those housed during COVID-19 from landing back on the streets post-pandemic.    

“What good is it to shelter homeless people in hotels now if they’ll just land back on the streets after current funding dries up?” said the Chair of the Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “The proposed funding is not enough as it only covers 10% of the homeless population. What about the other 90% that will be left on the streets? COVID-19 has struck the homeless population in the worst possible way. It deepened their pains of hunger, dimmed their hopes of finding shelter, and increased fears of widespread infection. A large, ongoing investment will help us resist an explosion of homelessness.”

“In April, 34 people died on the streets of Orange County, double from the month before,” said the Chair of the Select Committee on Orange County Homelessness, Assembly Member Sharon Quirk Silva (D-Fullerton). “As the Chair of the Select Committee on Homelessness in Orange County, it is vital that funding to fight homelessness be included in this year’s budget.”

“With the COVID-19 pandemic putting millions of Californians at risk of homelessness, now is not the moment to hold back on critical resources,” said Assembly Member Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “Our society is only as strong as how we treat our most vulnerable people. Now is the time for our State to rise to the occasion, and deliver the support cities and counties need with both compassion and urgency.”

“How do you shelter in place if you have no shelter?  How do you stay at home if you have no home?” said Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “The COVID-19 crisis has made it even more painfully clear that all Californians deserve a roof over their heads. When people don’t have access to the minimal conditions of human dignity, safety and health, it can put everyone’s health at risk. Especially now, California must meet the deepening of the homelessness crisis with an investment in a solution that matches it in scale and scope and speed.”

“Homelessness was and still is a top priority while we deal with the impacts of COVID-19 on the State,” said Assembly Member Gipson (D-Carson). “We must prioritize long term funding to ensure that more Californians aren’t left on the streets once this pandemic ends.”

“People experiencing homelessness can be especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and the City of Los Angeles is taking emergency action to get them indoors quickly — and we want them to stay housed during and beyond this crisis,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re grateful to Assemblymember Santiago and his colleagues for moving this legislation forward. I’ll keep working closely with the governor and legislature to bring more resources to the fight — and keep our eye on the goal to make this funding permanent.” 

"Faced with a pandemic, Los Angeles County and its partners have brought thousands of homeless people indoors in a matter of weeks, and this unprecedented work is still ongoing," Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.  "As we embark on the long road to recovery, it is more critical than ever that we have sustained funding for a Comprehensive Crisis Response to homelessness, as endorsed by the Governor’s Council. By being resolute in investing to keep our homeless neighbors housed, and preventing more people from becoming homeless, we can truly be a California for All."

"As we begin to assess the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, one thing is clear: state funding to address homelessness is going to be vital to returning those in economic turmoil to stability,” said Heidi Marston, Interim Executive Director, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. “The resources provided to local communities by AB 3300 are critical to making that happen.”

"When our state's severe housing crisis is made worse by a once in a century health crisis, California needs a response that matches the urgency of this moment. The Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing believes the proven way to house people who have been living on the streets is to build them affordable and permanent supportive housing. Now is the time for us to make this financial commitment,” said Alan Greenlee, Executive Director, Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing.

“Now, more than ever, we need Sacramento’s bold leadership in the fight to end homelessness,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “The United Way of Greater L.A. stands in strong support of this comprehensive approach because it will help thousands of people end their homelessness, permanently.”

"The housing crisis imposes the heaviest burdens on those most financially strained and already living on the brink of homelessness. To become a more inclusive and equitable community, we must first invest in these populations. Silicon Valley Community Foundation is proud to support AB 3300, which addresses the critical immediate and long-term challenges of homelessness,” said Gina Dalma, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

"AB 3300 provides necessary funds to house our neighbors that need it,” said Gloria Bruce, Executive Director, East Bay Housing Organizations. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that bold action to provide permanent affordable housing is necessary for the health and wellbeing of our communities. Housing is healthcare, and housing is the foundation to community stability."

AB 3300 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance and the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. He also sits on the Assembly Committees on Public Safety, Health, Higher Education and Utilities and Energy. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.