Assembly Committee Advances Transformative Interim Housing Bill that gives California Proven Tools to Fight Homelessness

Senator Josh Becker’s Interim Housing Act fast tracks the building of interim housing and scales up efforts to bring people indoors and save lives 

Sacramento, CA—Today, the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Interim Housing Act (SB 1395) authored by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park). This bill addresses California’s housing and homelessness needs by expanding access to interim housing on a statewide level. 

California has the fourth highest rate of homelessness and the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness in the nation. Despite concerted efforts to increase housing production, California’s budget, land, and zoning limitations inhibit sufficient permanent housing construction in the near term. As a consequence, California’s population experiencing homelessness reached a record 181,399 individuals in 2023, with 67 percent being unsheltered, and will continue to grow without significantly increasing housing production.

SB 1395 will encourage the development of interim housing by achieving the following:

  • Clarifying that relocatable, non-congregate interim housing is eligible for streamlined zoning, thus reducing construction time and costs; 
  • Empowering local governments who want to build interim housing by cutting red tape and expediting approvals (CEQA expansions for Low Barrier Navigation Centers and Shelter Crisis Act projects); 
  • Extending the sunset for existing streamlining authorities – Shelter Crisis Act and Low Barrier Navigation Centers – to provide locals more assurance that they can use existing tools to address our homelessness crisis beyond 2026; and  
  • Freeing up state funding for interim housing. 

“Interim housing is the missing rung on the ladder to permanent housing. The Interim Housing Act takes a proven local housing strategy and makes it available statewide, giving local governments a new tool to address the homelessness and housing crises,” said Becker. “It will lead to more housing options and significantly increase the inventory, which will put a roof over the heads of our unhoused neighbors faster so that they can get back on their feet and on track towards permanent housing.”

“As Senator Becker’s SB 1395 crosses meaningful hurdles in the legislative process, San Jose is one step closer to helping the rest of the state end the era of encampments by modeling solutions that work – creating basic, dignified housing and, when available, requiring homeless neighbors use them,” said Mayor Matt Mahan.

"SB 1395 is more than a legislative measure; it is a blueprint for healthier, more environmentally sustainable communities," said Elizabeth Funk, Founder and CEO of DignityMoves. "This legislation makes it clear that interim housing is essential to solving California's homelessness crisis, improving public health and revitalizing our public spaces, and demonstrates our collective commitment to transitioning our unhoused neighbors into safe spaces."

“In passing the Interim Housing Act, the State Senate today affirmed the need to begin bringing people indoors and saving lives at scale” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Interim housing is the most cost-effective tool at our disposal to provide dignity and stability to California’s unsheltered population while also restoring access to public spaces.”

“We need a comprehensive and compassionate response to homelessness in California that can deliver results. Interim supportive housing is a key part of that response that gets people living outdoors and in makeshift and dangerous encampments into safe and secure conditions expeditiously,” said Michael Lane, State Policy Director for SPUR. “SB 1395 will allow attractive and cost-effective interim housing communities to be built in a matter of months and rapidly provide decent homes for people experiencing homelessness.”

SB 1395 is sponsored by San José Mayor Matt Mahan, Dignity Moves, the Bay Area Council, and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), and is strongly supported by the Mayors of San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno, Long Beach, Bakersfield and Oakland. It now heads to the Assembly Committee on Local Government for its consideration.