To reduce the cost of providing quality, non-congregate interim housing, Senator Becker announces legislation to empower cities to streamline interim housing projects

SB 1395 gives local governments the tools to fast track building interim housing and scale up efforts to bring people indoors and save lives 

Sacramento, CA—Today Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) joined San José Mayor Matt Mahan in introducing SB 1395, which addresses California’s housing and homeless needs by expanding access to interim housing. 

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. As a consequence, California’s homeless population reached a record 181,399 individuals in 2023 and will continue to grow without significantly increasing housing production.

The importance of SB 1395, also known as the Interim Housing Solutions Act of 2024, is that it 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 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. 

“California cannot continue to rely on old and failing tactics to address our housing crisis,” said Senator Becker. “SB 1395 is an innovative solution that creates an expedited process to build more housing options and significantly increase the inventory by making it easier to construct interim housing units for our unhoused neighbors. With the development of more interim housing, we can put a roof over the heads of our unhoused neighbors so that they can get back on their feet and on track towards permanent housing.”

“Interim housing challenges the status quo approach to homelessness – allowing us to get those suffering off the streets faster and at a fraction of the cost,” said Mayor of San Jose Matt Mahan. “But we still aren’t moving with the urgency this crisis requires. SB 1395 will speed up development timelines and lower costs to help us end the era of encampments.”  

“SB 1395 offers a pragmatic approach to providing immediate shelter, promoting dignity, security, and stability for our unhoused population,” said Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose). “This bill is a crucial step toward not just sheltering individuals and families forced to live on the street, but ensuring they have a foundation to secure permanent housing and rebuild their lives.”

“We need a comprehensive and compassionate response to homelessness in California that can deliver results. Interim 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.”

“This legislation would help streamline the development of new housing opportunities, which is a crucial step in helping people get off of the streets and into homes,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “I’d like to thank Senator Becker for his leadership in introducing this bill and working to provide us with another tool to reduce homelessness.”

“It’s time to bring people indoors and save lives,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “SB 1395 will help California cities address the unsheltered homelessness crisis with the urgency it deserves. Interim housing is proven, scalable, and the best near-term solution to provide stability and dignity to California’s unsheltered population.”

SB 1395 is sponsored by San José Mayor Matt Mahan, and is strongly supported by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Dignity Moves, the Bay Area Council, and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association.