Senate Approves Legislation to Facilitate Financing of Housing for Homeless
SB 482 would make it easier for special needs developments to be financed and built
SACRAMENTO – The Senate on Thursday passed legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to encourage the development of special needs housing units that serve unhoused individuals with little or no income and the greatest needs.
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.
The Senate passed the bill on a 40-0 vote, and it goes next to the Assembly for consideration.
“SB 482 is a simple measure that can have a big impact,” Blakespear said. “One part of addressing California’s homeless problem is building housing that has the services that unhoused residents need to recover and rebuild their lives.”
Special needs units are 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 an essential element in helping the most vulnerable Californians transition out of homelessness.
Blakespear has also authored SB 7, which 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 last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee and remains alive as a two-year bill.
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.