Padilla Announces Transformative Legislation to Address Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crises

WATCH: Padilla Announces Comprehensive Housing for All Act to Invest in Innovative Housing Solutions

LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) announced the reintroduction of the Housing for All Act, a comprehensive approach to address the homelessness and affordable housing crises in California and across the nation. The legislation would invest in proven solutions and provide a historic level of federal funding both for strategic, existing programs to keep people housed and reduce homelessness as well as for innovative, locally-developed solutions to help vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness. Representatives Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-36) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Padilla unveiled the legislation today at a Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) Project Homekey Site alongside local housing leaders, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie, Business Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Deputy Secretary for Homelessness Dhakshike Wickrema, and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Executive Committee member Luis Alejo. The investments in the Housing for All Act would build on the creative solutions that cities and states across California have successfully developed.

“Housing is a basic human right, not a privilege,” said Senator Padilla. “The lack of affordable housing hurts Americans nationwide and disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. Officials across California know that we have the tools to end homelessness and lower the cost of housing for Americans, but we need significant federal investments to scale up creative and effective housing solutions. I am reintroducing the Housing for All Act to finally treat the homelessness and affordable housing crises with the seriousness they deserve — and I won’t stop this fight until every person has a place to call home.”

“When I served alongside Senator Padilla and Congressman Lieu, I was proud to support the ‘Housing for All Act,’ which would provide desperately needed federal resources to develop more affordable housing and reduce homelessness. This bill invests in federal programs that have a proven track record of saving lives and support local strategies like the City’s Inside Safe initiative that are working to get Angelenos off the streets, into interim housing, and ultimately, into permanent housing. Thank you Senator Padilla and Congressman Lieu for your leadership on this lifesaving bill,” said Mayor Bass.

“A lack of affordable housing remains a persistent and troubling problem in Los Angeles county and communities around the country,” said Representative Lieu. “Following the COVID-19 pandemic and an ensuing increase in the cost of living, the economic and social factors that contribute to homelessness have significantly worsened. It is imperative that we address this issue head-on now. Homelessness is a complicated challenge that requires a multi-faceted and collaborative approach. I’m pleased to join Senator Padilla and Congressman Carbajal on this comprehensive legislation to address the affordable housing shortage and implement proven, community-driven solutions to homelessness.”

“The Housing for All Act is comprehensive legislation package that will help us address the core issues of homelessness and affordable housing in California and across the nation — and includes provisions that address this crisis from all angles, including my Safe Parking Program legislation modeled after Santa Barbara County’s groundbreaking work helping people experiencing homelessness,” said Representative Carbajal. “This is one of the biggest issues facing our state, and that’s why we need big solutions to fix it. I’m proud to join Senator Padilla and Congressman Lieu to push this major step toward our goal of ensuring every American has a roof over their head.”

“I’m proud to join my fellow California colleagues to put forward this bill that takes an innovative and sweeping approach to boost affordable housing in Los Angeles and across the nation. This legislation aligns with the goals of the Renters Caucus, which I founded last year to build a coalition of policymakers who will address the housing crisis head on,” said Representative Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif-34). “I will work to build support in our 34-member-strong caucus to help advance the Housing for All Act, invest in affordable housing and revitalize our communities.”

“As an agency dedicated to housing our most vulnerable Angelinos, we are deeply appreciative of partners like Senator Padilla who are dedicated to making this goal a reality,” said Doug Guthrie, President & CEO of HACLA. “Senator Padilla’s all-hands-on-deck approach to developing housing solutions and his advocacy for increased federal funding and resources is exactly what we need to expand the supply of affordable housing here in Los Angeles.”

“We are grateful to Senator Padilla for his Housing For All legislation to help address the housing and homelessness crises in California and the rest of the nation,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Tomiquia Moss. “California has invested billions for housing and homelessness, but it will take all of us – federal, state, local, and tribal governments – working together to meet our housing needs and to prevent and end homelessness.”

“The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) applauds Senator Padilla for his continued commitment to address the single largest factor in combatting homelessness: the severe lack of affordable housing across our state,” said Graham Knaus, CSAC Chief Executive Officer. “The updated Housing For All Act also supports vital collaborations between county, city and state efforts to address homelessness in recognition of the complex needs of some unsheltered individuals. CSAC and California’s counties strongly support Senator Padilla’s Housing For All Act and urge Congress to act on the measure as soon as possible.”

The lack of affordable housing access and the population of individuals experiencing homelessness are growing crises impacting Americans nationwide, disproportionately affecting communities of color and low-income communities. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach 2023 Report, no state or county exists where a person working 40 hours a week and earning the state or local minimum wage can afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. In fact, the average minimum wage earner would need to work 104 hours per week — the equivalent of two and a half full-time jobs — to afford a two-bedroom rental home.

The Housing for All Act would take an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat these crises, including investments from the federal government in housing solutions. Specifically, the bill would:

  1. Address the affordable housing shortage by investing in the National Housing Trust Fund, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and the Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities;
  2. Address the homelessness crisis by investing in Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Rental Assistance, the emergency solutions grant program (which helps with street outreach, rapid re-housing assistance, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention), and Continuums of Care; and
  3. Support innovative, locally developed approaches to these crises by investing in hotel and motel conversions to permanent supportive housing with supportive services, the Eviction Protection Grant Program to support experienced legal service providers in providing legal assistance to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction, mobile crisis intervention teams to help those with medical or psychological needs get the care that they need, programs that offer a safe place to park overnight and facilitate access to rehousing services and essential services, library programs that support people experiencing homelessness, inclusive transit-oriented development and infill development, and improve coordination of culturally competent, trauma-informed behavioral health and homelessness services.

A group of California Big City Mayors sent a letter expressing their strong support for the Housing for All Act: “As mayors of the biggest cities in California, we are proud to support your legislation, the Housing for All Act of 2023, which would provide desperately needed federal resources to bolster more affordable housing development and reduce homelessness.”

“Senator Padilla’s Housing for All Act recognizes the extraordinary work performed during the pandemic by local homelessness systems and would provide them with robust resources, including significant new investments in the Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grants programs as well as Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance,” said Steve Berg, Chief Policy Officer at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “In addition to providing resources, Senator Padilla’s legislation would promote innovative policies like using motels and hotels for permanent supportive housing and specific efforts to help house the growing numbers of individuals and families experiencing vehicular homelessness.”

“Rents are sky high, eviction filings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, and more people are facing housing insecurity, eviction, and homelessness,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “More than ever, bold policies are needed to significantly expand federal investments in affordable, accessible housing for the nation’s lowest-income and most marginalized households. I applaud Senator Padilla for introducing the ‘Housing for All Act,’ which provides the robust investments in deeply affordable, accessible housing, universal rental assistance, and homelessness response services needed to end homelessness and housing poverty once and for all.”

“As housing cost and homelessness continue to rise for older adults, it is time for the bold steps laid out in the Housing for All Act. The bill is a much-needed response to the longstanding underinvestment in critical housing resources, which has left our country with a woefully insufficient supply of affordable housing for older adults,” said Katie Smith Sloan, President & CEO, LeadingAge. “For example, the bill’s $2.5 billion investment in HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program would mean tens of thousands of new homes, as well as new Service Coordinators to help older adult residents age in community. LeadingAge applauds Senator Padilla on the reintroduction of this legislation, and we look forward to doing all we can to secure its enactment.”

“The California Housing Partnership strongly supports Senator Padilla’s Housing for All Act providing expanded federal resources to address the acute shortage of affordable homes, that has been pushing families and individuals into overcrowded situations and homelessness in California,” said Matt Schwartz, President and CEO of the California Housing Partnership.

“The research is clear – lack of affordable housing is at the root of many societal issues, including health and educational disparities,” said Professor Matthew Desmond of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. “I’m glad to see Senator Padilla put forward legislation that attacks the core problems of housing insecurity and homelessness in America. As COVID -19 eviction protections lift, passing the Housing for All Act would be life changing for the millions of Americans who don’t have access to affordable housing and are currently facing eviction.”

Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) are cosponsoring the bill in the Senate.

The Housing for All Act of 2023 has been endorsed by organizations and stakeholders including the National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Matt Desmond of the Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, LeadingAge, National Rural Housing Coalition, UnidosUS, US Conference of Mayors, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Covenant House, Liberation in a Generation, American Library Association, Self-Help Enterprises, California Housing Partnership, California State Association of Counties, County Welfare Directors Association of California, and more.

Senator Padilla believes that housing is a human right and recognizes the need to drastically increase the affordable housing stock and address the homelessness crisis facing California and the country, including through supporting particularly vulnerable populations. He recently announced hundreds of millions of dollars for California from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Continuum of Care program for hundreds of organizations working to end homelessness. Last year, Padilla and Markey introduced a pair of bills, the Homelessness and Behavioral Health Care Coordination Act and the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Act, focused on addressing the intersecting crises of homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorder. Padilla also cosponsored the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, a bill to authorize $1 billion annually to help local governments address homelessness.

A one-pager of the Housing for All Act of 2023 is available here.

A section-by-section of the bill is available here.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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