Steinberg Institute

SB 744 would keep supportive housing projects from getting bogged down

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2019

California voters resoundingly approved Proposition 2 last November authorizing the state to issue $2 billion in bonds to fund “No Place Like Home” supportive housing developments where people living with a mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can live and get wrap-around services.

To help ensure that voter mandate is fulfilled, the Steinberg Institute is sponsoring SB 744, a new bill authored by Sen. Anna Caballero of Salinas that would streamline the building permit approval process for supportive housing projects and make it harder for not-in-my-backyard protests to bog them down.

“The fact that mentally ill people are living homeless in huge numbers all across California constitutes a statewide emergency,” said Darrell Steinberg, founder and chairman of the Steinberg Institute.

“Our communities must have the tools they need to act quickly to house and treat these people who are sick, vulnerable and hurting,” said Steinberg, who is currently mayor of Sacramento and was also recently named by Gov. Gavin Newsom to lead a new Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing.

SB 744 would require local governments to approve permanent supportive housing projects that meet specified state and local requirements, such as if the housing is in a county’s application for competitive funds under the No Place Like Home Program.

Local agencies could engage in design review, subject to specified requirements, but permanent supportive housing would be declared a “use by right” in zones where multifamily and mixed uses are permitted, including nonresidential zones permitting multifamily uses, subject to specified criteria.

SB 744 would also require resolution of actions or proceedings against projects within 270 days, where feasible; would impose a 10-day time limit for the filing of a legal challenge after a notice of determination; and would eliminate awards of attorney’s fees to prevailing parties unless the Attorney General determines that the action or proceeding is brought to protect a public interest.

“This bill will make it much harder to for anyone to stop the construction of desperately needed housing for people who are suffering on our streets,” said Tina Thomas, a noted land use attorney and member of the Steinberg Institute’s board of directors.

For more information: Patrick Hoge (office) 916-297-4494, (cell) 510-435-2320, patrick@steinberginstitute.org

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