Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, has introduced a package of three bills designed to help solve the homelessness crisis.
According to a statement released by Schiavo’s office, the bill package addresses: 1) removing cost barriers to identification and vital records that are necessary to access housing and jobs; 2) ensuring local government transparency and accountability related to their work addressing the homelessness crisis; and, 3) streamlining cumbersome bureaucracy to access government funding for low-income and homeless housing construction.
“I ran for office because it is beyond time to start delivering real solutions to homelessness,” Schiavo said in the statement. “After working with unhoused individuals in the San Fernando Valley, I saw firsthand how hard it is for people to get on their feet when our system too often fails people who need help the most. This bill package aims to address three specific problems we face when trying to get people off the streets, on their feet, and into housing.”
Schiavo added: “We intend to tear down barriers to important resources for those experiencing homelessness, ensure our local governments are doing all they can to help end and prevent homelessness, and streamline the application process for affordable housing development, so units are built as quickly as possible.”
The first bill in the package, Assembly Bill 464, eliminates fees at the point of service for driver licenses, state-issued IDs and records including birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates, for individuals who meet certain low-income criteria, including those who are homeless, the statement said.
“These important records are often lost, stolen, or destroyed when individuals become unhoused, but are essential to access resources needed to stabilize lives,” Schiavo said in the statement.
“Currently there is no requirement for cities and counties to share their work to address homelessness with the public,” said Schiavo. “The second bill in the package, AB 550, aims to bring transparency and accountability by requiring every city and county to hold an annual public hearing to discuss the work they are doing to address homelessness locally. This process will encourage coordination among local communities, create important conversations that are needed where they’re lacking, and create ongoing public transparency and accountability to treat the homelessness crisis with the urgency it deserves.”
The third bill, AB 519, is aimed to address hurdles for affordable housing.
“California’s affordable housing development finance system comprises four separate entities which administer a variety of financial resources including loans, tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to housing developers who build and rehabilitate affordable housing for lower-income households,” Schiavo said in the statement.
“AB 519 will address the complex process of applying for affordable and homeless housing funding by creating a working group to develop a consolidated application for the purpose of obtaining financing and developing a coordinated review process for the application,” she said in the statement. “Stitching together funding from all four entities requires multiple applications, which add project delays and expenses to building affordable and homeless housing. AB 519 aims to streamline a process that, according to a 2020 State Auditor report, creates an unnecessarily cumbersome process that ultimately passes the cost on to taxpayers and those who can least afford it, those occupying affordable units.”