Dear Fund for Homeless Women,
I am writing you from the office of State Senator John Laird where I serve as the Senator’s Monterey District policy advisor on homelessness in addition to other key issue areas. This request for a legislative update is timely because the Governor has recently signed key housing legislation and an historic homelessness funding package that have the potential to add thousands of new housing units and exits from homelessness throughout our State.
So, what does this mean for women on the Monterey Peninsula? Among all the legislation either already signed or on the Governor’s desk, two bills have received the most attention. While SB 9 promises to be the most successful in more densely populated areas of the state, some Monterey Peninsula homeowners may be able to build two houses or a duplex where currently only one house is permitted. The bill also allows eligible homeowners to split lots of a certain size into two distinct parcels – each with the opportunity to build two units or a duplex. Historically, duplexes are more affordable by design and could allow a local homeowner on a fixed income to create a revenue-generating second unit. In addition, families could create an affordable unit for a parent, relative, or friend in need. This bill could also create new home ownership opportunities for residents otherwise priced out of the area. SB 10 will allow a local government to rezone single-family parcels to as many as 10 units near public transit hubs and within urbanized areas.
In addition to these two key bills, in July Governor Newsom signed AB 140 into law. AB 140 is the largest funding and reform package for housing and homelessness in California history – more than 10 times the amount our state has ever spent to tackle homelessness. This $12 billion plan funds prevention, shelter, housing, behavioral health solutions and services to end the crisis of homelessness. Investments include $2 billion for Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, or HHAP, grants over the next two years – ending in fiscal year 2022-2023. In Monterey County, both our Continuum of Care and the County will receive allocations of HHAP each round of funding. Local programs will then apply for HHAP funding through a competitive grant process.
In addition to HHAP, the Governor’s plan includes $5.8 billion for Project Homekey to create 42,000 new homeless housing units and $3 billion dedicated to housing individuals with acute physical health needs, an investment that will directly impact unhoused older adults. Project Homekey has already been a game changer in our battle to combat homelessness up and down the State.
Also of note, AB 140 establishes a new program called the “Regional Early Action Planning Grants Program of 2021” to be developed and administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. This program provides regions with funding, including grants, for transformative planning and implementation activities.
While this update is far from a comprehensive list of all the funding and legislation that may impact housing and homelessness, I have outlined some of the specific opportunities I hope Peninsula residents and organizations will take full advantage of to move our most vulnerable unhoused individuals into housing. We must actively pursue both the funding opportunities and the housing development this year’s legislation affords.
I look forward to working with all of you to ensure that all women on the Monterey Peninsula have access to adequate housing. Please reach out to the Senator’s office if you have any questions about this year’s legislation and the investments the Governor and the legislature have made to house all Californians.
Policy Advisor – Monterey District
Office of State Senator John Laird