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Assemblymember Santiago Proposes CA Dedicate $2B Annually to Fight Homelessness

Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

Press events took place in Los Angeles and Berkeley to announce new legislation that would allocate $2 billion statewide to fight homelessness.

A.B. 3300 was introduced by authors Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Mike Gipson (D-Gardena), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), alongside a host of co-authors: Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).

In his Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a new $750 million one-time allocation toward the California Access to Housing Services (CAAHS) Fund, with the goal "to help alleviate street‑based homelessness and increase the number of housing units."

This morning's A.B. 3300 press event in Los Angele. Left to right: Asm Richard Bloom, Asm Reginald Jones-Sawyer, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Asm Miguel Santiago, LAHSA chair Sarah Dusseault, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Asm Laura Friedman, Riverside Mayor Rusty Freeman. Photo courtesy Asm Santiago
This morning's A.B. 3300 press event in Los Angele. Left to right: Asm Richard Bloom, Asm Reginald Jones-Sawyer, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Asm Miguel Santiago, LAHSA chair Sarah Dusseault, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Asm Laura Friedman, Riverside Mayor Rusty Freeman. Photo courtesy Asm Santiago
This morning's A.B. 3300 press event in Los Angele. Left to right: Asm Richard Bloom, Asm Reginald Jones-Sawyer, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Asm Miguel Santiago, LAHSA chair Sarah Dusseault, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Asm Laura Friedman, Riverside Mayor Rusty Freeman. Photo courtesy Asm Santiago

At this morning's press event in L.A., many speakers focused on the need for "ongoing resources" to fight homelessness, not just one-off allocations. L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stressed that point, stating the need for "sustained revenue for sustained outcomes."

A.B. 3300 would establish an ongoing $2 billion appropriation to fund cities, counties, homeless continuum of care agencies (CoCs: regional or local homeless planning bodies - for Los Angeles, this is the joint city-county Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority), and affordable housing developers. The annual $2 billion allocation would be ongoing, with no sunset. The funding breaks down as follows:

    • 55 percent to CoCs and counties to provide housing assistance, services, subsidies
    • 40 percent to cities to provide housing - including emergency shelters, interim housing, permanent supportive housing, and affordable housing
    • 5 percent to nonprofit housing developers for capital development

A.B. 3300 funding would focus on vulnerable populations, with at least 10 percent targeted toward youth experiencing homelessness, and at least 25 percent toward survivors of domestic abuse/sexual assault, older adults, chronically homeless individuals, and persons exiting prison or jail. Expenditures would require a 25 percent local match.

Funding would come from the state's general fund, which Santiago noted has had a surplus for the past six years, including a projected $6 billion this year. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed that the time is now to tap into the state's surplus "rainy day funds" because "it's pouring." Santiago stressed that health care, transportation, and education all have their dedicated state funding streams and that the magnitude of the housing crisis warrants similar ongoing state funding. Ongoing funding would allow for municipalities and nonprofits to focus on sustained long-term strategies.

A.B. 3300 includes accountability provisions where expenditures would be tracked by the legislature, and uncommitted monies would be reallocated.

A.B. 3300 will need to work its way through legislative processes this year, starting with an initial committee hearing in April. Via a bipartisan budget request letter, Santiago is also pushing for "an ongoing investment of $2 billion to address California's homelessness crisis in the 2020-21 State Budget." If this request is successful, funding could be dispersed starting this July. If A.B. 3300 is successful, that funding will be sustained indefinitely.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey stated that California's homelessness crisis poses "an existential threat to our dreams, our way of life, our future." Bailey urged a "housing revolution" and criticized the state for "planning for cars... [though] freeways are dead" while not planning sustained "all hands on deck" action toward ending homelessness.

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