Driving Regional Solutions

The Bay Area’s homeless population grew 9% since 2020 and is today the third largest concentration of homeless people in the U.S. Furthermore, the Bay Area’s failure to scale its inventory of emergency shelters has created the least sheltered homeless population in the U.S., even when compared with regions that have larger per-capita homeless populations. The Bay Area Council’s Committee on Homelessness brings together diverse regional leaders in business, government, and the non-profit sectors to influence policies aimed at finding scalable solutions to this intergenerational challenge.

2024 Priorities

  • Opportunity Housing : Permanent supportive housing costs approximately $700,000 per unit to build in the Bay Area, making the solution incapable of being brought to scale. Land prices are a major driver of these costs. Opportunity Housing avoids land costs by quickly and inexpensively constructing modular, non-congregate homes on non-permanently affixed foundations which can be quickly and inexpensively installed on temporarily available land at no cost. Even when built to HUD/HCD standards—meaning eligibility to receive essential federal housing operating vouchers—Opportunity Housing projects can cost as little as $50,000 per unit. The Bay Area Council will co-sponsor legislation with DignityMoves, SPUR, and the City of San José to codify Opportunity Housing in statute and allow cities to permit them by right.
  • Treatment-Assisted Sober Living : At least half of California’s homeless population suffers from a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. Meanwhile, the emergence of fentanyl has greatly increased the lethality substance use and abuse, sending overdose deaths skyrocketing across the state and nation. California provides state funding and non-funding incentives like density bonuses and by-right permitting for homeless housing and shelter projects. Under current law, these projects must treat substance abuse as an allowable lifestyle choice, which guarantees the persistent presence of illicit substances in such projects, making it more difficult for addicts who wish to get clean succeed. The Bay Area Council will develop and co-sponsor legislation to allow Treatment Assisted Sober Living facilities to access state incentives to create more pathways for recovery.

Sponsored Legislation

SB 634 Opportunity Housing
Author: Becker (San Mateo)
Would streamline the installation of temporary, modular housing or “opportunity homes” on vacant land, providing immediate shelter for thousands of unsheltered homeless individuals.

Read the text of SB 634

Homelessness Committee Co-Chairs
Elizabeth Funk, CEO, DignityMoves
Tom Wolf, Recovery Advocate, The Salvation Army

Strategic Partnerships
Dignity Moves

Get Involved
The Homelessness Committee is open to Bay Area Council members. Upcoming committee meetings can be found on the Council’s calendar of events.

To engage in our legislative advocacy efforts or receive our Housing the Homeless newsletter contact Vice President Adrian Covert (acovert@bayareacouncil.org).

Policy Leads

Adrian Covert image
Adrian Covert

Senior Vice President, Public Policy

(415) 946-8746

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