SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate approved on Monday what some lawmakers have called a carrot-and-stick approach to the state’s housing crunch by setting aside $2.4 billion to address housing and homelessness while setting up a process to punish cities that consistently flout the state’s housing policies.
The plan comes amid tensions between housing rights advocates and local governments they accuse of taking a “not in my back yard” attitude to housing even as rents increase, home prices rise beyond reach for many and a growing number of people take to sleeping on the streets across the state.
Assembly Bill 101 incentivizes the construction of housing in some areas and sets aside $650 million in the state budget to address homelessness. It also attempts to allow for faster construction of homeless shelters by scrapping some environmental reviews and making it harder for local officials to delay projects.
While the state is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into addressing homelessness, plans for some new homeless shelters are getting bogged down in court.
“The timelines need to be shorter,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Van Nuys, who bemoaned the length of time it can take to build affordable housing or open homeless shelters.