On May 6, Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D – Santa Ana) has moved his Senate Bill 450 (SB 450) through the California State Senate. SB 450 streamlines the process of converting motels into supportive and transitional housing. The bill would exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) projects related to the conversion of a motel into supportive or transitional housing.
“Our communities need this transitional housing to come as soon as possible. Too many families are staying in these motels because they cannot pass a credit check to lease an apartment, and as a result, they end up paying more to reside in a motel,” said Umberg. “This will make extraordinary opportunities for our state’s cities, and for California families affected most by the homelessness epidemic. We must continue to support our local communities as they desperately work to implement life-changing efforts for those in need.”
Exempting motel conversion projects from CEQA, as SB 450 (Umberg) proposes, would facilitate the production of supportive and transitional housing at existing sites where families who are experiencing homelessness are already seeking shelter. SB 450 is a pivotal step forward in producing supportive housing units and ending homelessness in California. This legislation has the added benefit of providing an opportunity to address existing public safety concerns at nuisance motels across the State.
“Bottom line is this,” said City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “It’s hard for affordable housing developers or the city to purchase these properties because in some cases they have to go through stricter environmental reviews than other housing projects. SB 450 makes the cost of purchase and development less expensive and much more feasible.”
The Big 13 Mayors, the 13 largest cities in California, endorse SB 450. These cities include the city of Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton, Long Beach (sponsor), as well as the Rural Counties of California.