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The California Rental Housing Association (CalRHA) applauds Governor Newsom for including funding for rental housing emergency assistance and the Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Program in the state budget.

 

CalRHA has long been a proponent of funding for emergency rental assistance programs that support Californians at risk of or experiencing homelessness. For the last several months, we have been working with representatives of the Legislature and the Administration on emergency housing solutions, and we are pleased to see that Governor Newsom has made it part of his plan to address homelessness.

“The devil is in the details”, said CalRHA President and property owner Earle Vaughan. “We’ve all learned a lot from rental assistance programs like these – what will and what will not work. There needs to be flexibility for applicants, safeguards to prevent fraud, and direct payments to rental housing providers to avoid delays.”

We look forward to working with Governor and the Legislature to ensure that these programs are implemented in a way that is effective and efficient, maximizing the number of Californians who are housed.

 

POLITICAL UPDATE

The Legislature has convened the 2023-24 session and the Senate Pro Tem and Assembly Speaker have been announcing their leadership and committee make-ups. In the Assembly, Buffy Wicks remains Chair of Assembly Housing and Brian Maienshein has been named Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Full committee rosters are expected to be announced soon. In the Senate, the Housing and Judiciary Chairs remain the same with Scott Wiener and Tom Umberg, respectively. The full list of Senate committees may be found here.

 

BUDGET UPDATE 

On January 10th, Governor Newsom released his proposed budget for the 2023-34 fiscal year. His $297 billion spending plan is about 3.6% smaller than last year’s record budget, as we are facing a projected $22.5 billion deficit. The full budget summary may be found here, housing specific summary here, as well as the Governor’s fact sheet. Housing and homelessness are top priorities for funding. CalRHA has been advocating over the past several months for a 6-month rent subsidy program in the state. Fortunately, there is proposed funding in the state budget for two different 6-month rent subsidy programs. We will work closely with the Legislature and Administration as they develop the specifics of these programs, but preliminary details are as follows:

  • One would entail the state seeking a Medicaid waiver, which will require federal approval. They want CalAIM to be able to provide rent aid as additional care support. This would be for six months of rent for transitioning out of CDCR, those at risk, etc. The amount would be $17.9 million increasing to $116 million at full implementation.
  • The second deals with the California Behavioral Health Program and would seek a DHCS waiver to focus on children and youth, etc. This waiver would allow counties to cover rent up to six months.

Finally, there is also $1 billion proposed for the 5th round of HHAP grant funding.

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The Legislature has until February 17th to introduce legislation, after which we will have a better idea of all the legislation we will be facing this year. As reported last month, one priority bill so far is AB 12 (Haney), which would limit rental security deposits to one month’s rent vs. two months’ rent. CalRHA has already taken an oppose position to this bill and it has yet to be set for a hearing.

 

INITIATIVE UPDATE

Right before the holiday, on December 22nd, 2022, proponents submitted a Justice for Renters Act to the Attorney General for Title and Summary. The Act would specify that the state cannot limit a local governments’ ability to enact rent control, as well as repeal Costa Hawkins. This will be a high priority for CalRHA and its members. Comments may be submitted until January 23, 2023.

 

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