Legislation to Facilitate Financing of Housing for Homeless Goes to Governor
SB 482 would make it easier to fund housing developments with supportive services for homeless residents with the greatest needs
SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to encourage the development of housing units that serve unhoused individuals with little or no income and the greatest needs was passed by the Senate on Thursday and sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign.
SB 482 requires the state Department of Housing and Community Development to offer capitalized operating subsidy reserves (COSRs) to special needs units funded through the Multifamily Housing Program. COSRs are important because if granted, they set aside upfront money to cover 15-20 years’ worth of deficits in annual operating revenues for housing developments, making it easier for the developments to get financed and built.
“One critical element of reducing homelessness in California is providing people who are unsheltered with housing that includes the support they need, such as mental health care or substance abuse treatment,” Blakespear said. “SB 482 ensures that housing that provides needed services to the state’s most vulnerable homeless can be more easily financed.”
Housing with supportive services is crucial in helping people who are homeless address personal health or substance abuse problems or get other help they need. These units often offer case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment and employment services, among other resources. This is essential for helping people who are struggling to build more stable lives and transition out of homelessness.
A study conducted by UC San Francisco of California’s homeless residents and published in June said that two-thirds of those they surveyed suffered mental health symptoms and one-third had substance abuse problems.
Blakespear has also authored SB 7 which would mandate that cities and counties provide housing for people who are homeless. Despite all the programs and assistance provided to the unhoused, there is currently no requirement for cities and counties to house them. A two-year bill, SB 7 aims to change that.
Elected in November, Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Blakespear, visit her Senate website.