Homeless Housing Legislation Clears Major Hurdle
With an estimated 170,000 Californians experiencing homelessness on any given day, it’s
critical that we find fast, affordable housing solutions. Shelters offer temporary relief, but often
return people to the streets and face local opposition. Permanent housing is the gold standard,
but it’s very expensive and takes many years to build. In the middle is Opportunity Housing,
which takes just months to build, is magnitudes less expensive and provides good-quality non-
congregate housing that residents rave about.
Legislation (SB 634) by Peninsula Sen. Josh Becker that the Bay Area Council is co-sponsoring
would supercharge the development of Opportunity Housing. And this, the bill passed an
important milestone passing out of the Senate Housing Committee on an 8-1 vote. Dignity
Moves and SPUR are also co-sponsors.
Opportunity Housing units are engineered for residents to stay years, not months, if no
permanent housing option is available rather than being turned back out onto the streets. SB
634 would encourage the development of Opportunity Housing construction by defining
Opportunity Housing in statute, requiring local agencies to respond to a request to develop the
land for this housing type on public land, creating a streamlined approvals process, and tasking
the California Department of Housing & Community Development with reviewing building codes
to expedite the construction.
While we work to build permanent options, Opportunity Housing is a critical tool that we should
use to prevent some of the worst outcomes of unsheltered homelessness, including death. SB
634 will be heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this coming Wednesday,
April 26 at 9 a.m. Though the letter deadline has passed, the Bay Area Council encourages
members to call the committee to voice their support during public comment