Bringing you updates in legislation, policy, and other news relating to affordable housing, homelessness, sustainable communities, and related issues.



Governor Newsom Signs Housing Bills

by Jacqueline Woo, Senior Associate | Policy and Legislative Team  

This year the Governor signed more than 50 bills that simplify and expedite the construction of new housing, provide more opportunities for affordable homes, and strengthen rental protections.


The State Legislature and the Governor have again stepped up to pass critical legislation and approve increased funding for housing. This year’s legislative package builds on the important progress made over the past five years to address the State’s severe housing crisis. In 2021, the Governor created the Housing Accountability Unit (HAU) in the Department of Housing and Community Development that ensures localities abide by these new requirements, and new legislation continues to clarify and strengthen the role of the HAU.

We highlight a few of this year’s bills here:



SB 4 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) provides a streamlined process to develop affordable housing on land owned by religious organizations and nonprofit colleges and enables development regardless of local zoning restrictions.


SB 423 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) removes the sunset of SB 35 (2017), which allows for ministerial approval of developments in communities that have not met their Regional Housing Needs Allocations or adopted a compliant housing element and extends the law to coastal communities.


SB 469 (Allen, D-Redondo Beach) exempts developments financed by HCD, CalHFA, and the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency from Article 34 of the State Constitution. A significant new law that overturns the requirement for voter approval for affordable development in most cases.


AB 1033 (Ting, D-San Francisco) repeals a current law that prohibits the separate conveyance of ADUs, enabling property owners in participating cities to build an ADU and sell it separately, providing a new homeownership option for families and the potential for wealth-building for homeowners. 


AB 1449 (Alvarez, D-Chula Vista) extends CEQA exemptions to 100% affordable projects assisted through the LIHTC program as long as they meet specified labor and environmental requirements. As most affordable developments include tax credits, this bill will streamline the development process for affordable projects and bring new homes online faster.


AB 1485 (Haney, D-San Francisco) strengthens the Housing Accountability Act by empowering the Attorney General and the Department of Housing and Community Development to intervene in any legal action addressing a violation of housing laws initiated by a third party.

ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters) lowers the voter threshold from 2/3 to 55% for affordable housing bond measures. Changing this rule will give local communities the tools they need to invest in affordable housing, and the accountability to ensure it produces results. This initiative will undergo clean-up language and changes to maximize impact, so it will go back through the legislative process in the early part of the 2024 session, and then head to voters’ ballots likely in November 2024.




AB 12 (Haney, D-San Francisco) bans landlords from charging more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. The law goes into effect in June.


AB 1418 (McKinnor, D-Inglewood) prohibits cities and counties from enacting “crime-free” housing programs and nuisance ordinances that require landlords to evict people when a household member is a convicted felon.

SEE OUR LIST of bills signed into law >   

Governor Newsom's Mental Health Package Gets the Needed Votes

by Dr. Yelba Carrillo, Principal and Co-Team Lead | Homelessness Solutions Team

In addition to housing bills, the Governor signed two bills that focus on mental health and substance abuse but have significant housing provisions.


SB 326 (Eggman, D-Stockton) modernizes the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) by, among other things, providing ongoing resources for housing. The law sets aside 30% of MHSA funds for housing intervention programs, with 50% of the funds made available for housing interventions for persons who are chronically homeless, with a focus on those in encampments, and up to 25% of the funds available for capital development projects.


AB 531 (Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks) places a $6.38 billion General Obligation Bond on the March 2024 ballot to fund the development of an estimated 11,150 supportive housing units and treatment beds throughout the State, with a dedicated focus on veterans. Additionally, it would provide funding-intensive services, including assistance to homeless people with severe mental illness.


The Governor also unveiled a plan, which he calls the California Mental Health Movement, to address mental health and substance abuse. As part of the plan’s $28 billion budget, $10.9 billion would be made available for the creation of an estimated 24,800 beds/housing units and 45,800 outpatient treatment slots for people with behavioral health issues. 


San Diego Community College District Breaks Ground on First On-Campus Affordable Student Housing Project

by Craig Adelman, Senior Principal | Housing Team  

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is one of the region’s anchor institutions that employs approximately 5,000 people and provides education to roughly 100,000 students annually. Unfortunately, a severe lack of affordable housing in the region is impacting SDCCD’s ability to implement its mission to provide accessible, high-quality learning experiences and undergraduate education at an affordable price to meet the educational needs of the San Diego community and the state.


LeSar Development Consultants has worked with SDCCD to define their vision of supporting housing that is affordable for students, staff, and transitional-age youth and developing strategies for SDCCD to build housing to serve these populations.  

READ MORE about this exciting development >   


Five Recent Trends in Homelessness in California | Terner Center for Housing Innovation, Abt Associates, and the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, October 2023


From the House to the Ground - Insights into the Challenges of Implementing State Housing Policies | Brookings Institution/Lincoln Institute of Land Policy | September 2023


Housing Underproduction in California 2023 Report California Yimby Education Fund | Commissioned from MapCraft | September 2023


Achieving Housing Abundance Near Transit | Terner Center for Housing Innovation | September 2023


What Policymakers Should Know About Institutional Investors’ Role in the Housing Market | Article | Housing Matters, October 4, 2023


New Care Court System Begins in California | Video | KTVU (Channel 2, San Francisco), October 4, 2023


U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Legality of Fees Charged to California Homebuilders | Article | San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2023 (potentially behind paywall)


The Truth About Housing First | Blog | National Alliance to End Homelessness, September 23, 2023


Legal Fights Over California’s Homeless Camps Expand | Article | CalMatters, September 21, 2023


Can This Plan Fix California’s Insurance Crisis? What You Need to Know | Article | CalMatters, September 21, 2023


What the Defeat of Minneapolis 2040 Land Use Reform Means for the Rest of America | Article | Streetsblog, September 18, 2023


What it Looks Like When AI Designs a City | Article | Bloomberg, September 16, 2023

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