Press Release

As SB 7 Becomes 2-year Bill, Blakespear Calls for Coordinated Effort to Tackle Homelessness

The need for SB 7, which would mandate that cities and counties provide housing for their homeless, is greater than ever

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, called on lawmakers on Friday to take the next step in tackling the state’s homeless crisis and require cities and counties to provide housing opportunities for their unhoused residents so they are not forced to live on the streets and in public places.

“The unsheltered homeless population living on our city streets is a humanitarian disaster and we need urgent action,” Blakespear said. “One big issue is no level of government has taken ownership of this problem. We need to change that and approach providing housing for the unhoused in a methodical, accountable fashion.”

SB 7 would mandate that cities and counties provide housing for people who are homeless. To comply, municipalities would have to develop and submit plans to provide housing for their homeless populations, as part of their zoning plans to meet projected housing needs for their jurisdictions. 

Despite all the programs and assistance provided to the unhoused, there is currently no requirement for cities and counties to house them. SB 7 aims to change that.

SB 7 was held by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday and remains alive as a two-year bill.

“I understand it’s a tough budget year, but I would argue nothing is more important right now than to address the state’s homeless problem in a smart, universal way,” Blakespear said. “I will continue to advocate for the approach SB 7 takes, and work to pass the legislation and policy in whatever way possible.”

In cities large and small, encampments of the unhoused can be found on streets, in parks, on bike paths, in riverbeds and in the most public of spaces, such as city plazas and downtown districts. Removing homeless from these spaces will never be successful unless they have some other place to go – housing they can use.

In addition to pursuing her legislation, Blakespear supports other bills that require accountability, collaboration and clear role-definition in addressing homelessness. She is a co-author of AB 799, introduced by Assemblymember Luz Rivas, D-Sylmar. Titled the Homelessness Accountability and Results Act, the legislation would establish strict accountability measures and evidence-based improvements to the Homelessness Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) Program to match the scope of the crisis.

“It’s time to recognize housing as a human right and require that all unhoused people be provided with housing,” Blakespear said. “It’s also time to take back our public spaces and keep them as they were originally intended – for all the public to use.”

Elected in November, Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern coastal San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Blakespear, visit her Senate website.