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  • Writer's pictureLee ISG

California Assembly Passes Bill Letting Tenants Help Those at Risk for Homelessness

Measure Is Among Several Focused on State's Housing Crisis

The California State Assembly has passed legislation that would make it easier for landlords and tenants to allow persons at risk of homelessness to temporarily reside on their property. It's among numerous measures being weighed in response to the growing housing affordability crisis in the nation’s most populous state.

By a 75-0 vote, legislators passed Assembly Bill 1188, proposed by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley. The measure will next head to the California Senate and would also need approval from Gov. Gavin Newsom to become law.

The legislation lets apartment tenants and landlords enter into an agreement under which the tenant can allow friends or relatives facing homelessness to temporarily live with them without fear of negative repercussions against either party. In a statement, Gabriel said it also removes several legal barriers currently preventing tenants from assisting others in this way and incentivizes landlords and tenants to help those at risk for homelessness as they search for more stable housing.

California is one of many states from New York to Washington grappling with ways to address the nation's growing housing crisis.

A 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said California has the nation’s largest homeless population – 130,000 – accounting for 24 percent of the nation’s homeless. Gabriel’s bill is among numerous measures now being considered by lawmakers and the governor’s office to deal with rising rents , development issues and other factors contributing to California’s housing affordability problems amid rising homelessness.

Gabriel said AB 1188 was crafted based on recommendations from Margot Kushel, a prominent researcher at University of California San Francisco who has studied the homelessness issue and has identified temporary housing with family or friends as a critical preventive tool.

Kushel was recently tapped to lead a new research initiative on homelessness at the university, funded largely through a $30 million donation from Marc Benioff, chief executive of San Francisco-based software company Salesforce Inc.

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