Bills to Strengthen Homeless Funding Oversight and Create Affordable Housing for Teachers Pass State Legislature

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Bills Would Mandate Enhanced Accountability for State Homeless Funding and Facilitate Construction of Affordable Housing for Teachers and School Employees

SACRAMENTO, CA — Earlier this week, the California Legislature passed legislation, authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), that would mandate enhanced accountability for state homeless funding and help local school districts construct affordable housing for teachers and school district employees. 

Homeless Funding Accountability

Assembly Bill (AB) 2746 would mandate enhanced accountability and transparency by creating a system of uniform reporting requirements across a broad set of state-funded homelessness programs. The data collected would be made available to the Legislature, the press, and the general public, allowing for stronger oversight of state and local homelessness programs. AB 2746 also would provide valuable insight into the comparative effectiveness of various homelessness programs and strategies, and enable the Legislature to better use data to craft policy responses.

“There is frustration in the Legislature and around the state with the lack of progress on homelessness,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “We can’t keep writing blank checks and hoping for the best. We need stronger oversight to hold local governments accountable and ensure that state resources are being spent in the most efficient and effective manner possible. California residents, taxpayers, and our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness deserve much better.”

“The homelessness crisis throughout California has left far too many without access to programs and services they need to survive,” said Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. “With the clear data collection and reporting standards mandated by AB 2746, we can ensure that the public funds dedicated to reducing homelessness are spent efficiently and effectively. I commend Assemblymember Gabriel for his thoughtful work on this issue. We owe taxpayers transparency and accountability for the programs paid for with their money.”

Affordable Housing for Teachers & School Employees

Assembly Bill (AB) 3308 clarifies the Teachers Housing Act to ensure that school districts can utilize low-income housing tax credits to construct affordable housing for teachers and school employees on district-owned land. The legislation also clarifies that local municipalities can work collaboratively with school districts to provide affordable housing for members of their workforce.

“No teacher should have to work two jobs or commute for three hours just to be able to afford rent,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “This legislation will enable local schools to do more to support our educators and school employees, and will help ensure that all tools are on the table to build desperately needed affordable housing.”

"Educators are foundational to every community. It would be wonderful if they could afford to live in the communities where they teach. Unfortunately, in many areas around the state affordable housing is not available,” said Marcela Chagoya, Education Specialist and Chair of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) Special Education Services Committee. “AB 3308 provides an amazing opportunity for school districts to build affordable housing for educators so that they can strengthen relationships with their students, families, and school communities. It's a win-win situation for all!”

"The Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) strongly supports opportunities for districts to use their land to provide affordable workforce housing,” said Alan Greenlee, Executive Director. “The availability of such land at a time when our region is experiencing a severe housing crisis represents a propitious opportunity to bring measurable benefits to district constituents and low-income Californians who need a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. It’s a missed opportunity if we don’t incentivize and support the construction of housing on district land."

The state’s severe affordable housing crisis puts Californians directly at risk of housing instability and homelessness. According to the California Housing Partnership, more than 1.4 million California households are in need of affordable housing. Moreover, an estimated 151,000 people are experiencing homelessness across California, a number higher than any other state in the nation.

The bills now head to Governor Newsom’s desk, where they must be signed or vetoed by September 30, 2020.