How Does the Proposed 2021 California Budget Address the Housing and Homelessness Crisis?

A lot of California’s focus will continue to be on economic recovery and administering the COVID-19 vaccine, which are critical issues facing our state. But, housing will also continue to be a top priority for the Partnership and Bay Area residents. For that reason, we wanted to highlight the proposed investments in housing and homelessness in this year’s budget: 

Project Homekey: Last year, the state used a mix of federal, philanthropic, and state dollars to stand up a motel/hotel acquisition program that is projected to create 6000 new units of permanent and interim housing for COVID-vulnerable homeless Californians. The Governor is proposing $750 million additional dollars to continue the Project Homekey this year.

Housing for Vulnerable Populations: The budget proposal includes a one-time allocation of $1 billion to acquire and build housing specifically for people who need behavioral health treatment settings and low-income vulnerable seniors. These could be short-term crisis care settings and long-term care environments often referred to as board and cares or adult residential facilities. The disappearance of housing specifically for people with complex medical and mental health needs who can no longer live independently has been viewed as a growing crisis statewide.

Protecting Tenants at Risk of Eviction: To keep renters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis safely housed, the state passed AB 3088, which had provisions that prevented certain types of evictions until January 31, 2021. Due to the pandemic’s ongoing severity, both the Governor and key state legislators are immediately calling for an extension of AB 3088. The state and its larger local governments are set to receive a total $2.6 billion of the $25 billion rental relief program administered by the Treasury Department, which could further stabilize at-risk renters.

Affordable Housing Programs: Governor Newsom proposes new investments of $500 million in the state’s Infill Infrastructure Grant Program and an additional third round of $500 million in low-income housing tax credits to spur affordable housing development and reduce the massive gap in units available for qualifying low-income households. State leaders are also proposing streamlining measures to make the application and environmental review process faster for these projects.

You can access the housing and homelessness budget summary HERE and a full budget summary HERE. Sign up for our newsletter HERE to receive insights and news from the Partnership.