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In Your Neighborhood? Sac'to Just Enabled "Low Barrier" Homeless Facilities -- That Must Allow Active Drug Users / Alcohol Abusers Who Refuse Participation In Treatment Programs Or Services -- A Use "By Right" In Mixed Use (Comm'l w/ Residential) Zones And Nonresidential Zones Permitting Multifamily Uses

No visible/audible opposition from LB Mayor/Council despite declared policy to defend local control.

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(July 20, 2019, 6:50 p.m.) -- Long Beach neighborhoods currently zoned to allow mixed uses (commercial combined with residential) and nonresidential zones permitting multifamily uses have just become areas where LB City Hall (and other CA cities that receive Sacramento homeless-related funds) must allow -- "by right" -- "low barrier" homeless "Navigation Centers" that can't reject applicants regardless of their sobriety or substance abuse, regardless of criminal convictions unrelated to tenancy, and regardless of their refusal to participate in services or treatment programs.

That's the result of AB 101 (full text here, a sweeping Sacramento bill that also reduces the rights of cities and their residents to decide local housing plans and offers state taxpayer dollars to cities that allow increased housing density with less parking.

AB 101's final terms were part of an agreement between Sacramento Democrat legislative leadership (state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D, San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB-Paramount)) and Governor Gavin Newsom in advancing to a final vote a 2019-2020 state budget. LB-area state Senators Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-S.E. L.A. County) and Tom Umberg (D, SE LB/West OC.) and Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB-San Pedro) all voted "yes" on AB 101's final passage on July 1. Full Assembly and state Senate vote tallies on AB 101 are visible here Their votes sent the bill to Governor Newsom who's expected to sign it into a law.

To's knowledge, neither LB Mayor Robert Garcia nor any LB City Council incumbents voiced objections to the bill's locally preemptive impacts although the LB City Council voted unanimously to approve a 2019 "state legislative agenda" that declared the City would oppose Sac'to legislation that diminishes or preempts local control.

[Scroll down for further.]

AB 101 neighborhood impacts

AB 101 enables -- by right -- "Low Barrier Navigation Centers" defined as a "Housing First, low-barrier, service-enriched shelter focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing."

What are "Housing First" low barrier shelters? A Sacramento bill enacted in 2016 (SB 1380, now codified as CA Welfare & Institutions Code § 8255) requires state programs that fund, implement or administer programs providing homeless related housing or housing-related services to apply "Housing First" "core principles" that mean "all of the following":

(1) Tenant screening and selection practices that promote accepting applicants regardless of their sobriety or use of substances, completion of treatment, or participation in services.

(2) Applicants are not rejected on the basis of poor credit or financial history, poor or lack of rental history, criminal convictions unrelated to tenancy, or behaviors that indicate a lack of "housing readiness."

(3) Acceptance of referrals directly from shelters, street outreach, drop-in centers, and other parts of crisis response systems frequented by vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.

(4) Supportive services that emphasize engagement and problem solving over therapeutic goals and service plans that are highly tenant-driven without predetermined goals.

(5) Participation in services or program compliance is not a condition of permanent housing tenancy.

(6) Tenants have a lease and all the rights and responsibilities of tenancy, as outlined in California’s Civil, Health and Safety, and Government codes.

(7) The use of alcohol or drugs in and of itself, without other lease violations, is not a reason for eviction.

(8) In communities with coordinated assessment and entry systems, incentives for funding promote tenant selection plans for supportive housing that prioritize eligible tenants based on criteria other than "first-come-first-serve," including, but not limited to, the duration or chronicity of homelessness, vulnerability to early mortality, or high utilization of crisis services. Prioritization may include triage tools, developed through local data, to identify high-cost, high-need homeless residents.

(9) Case managers and service coordinators who are trained in and actively employ evidence-based practices for client engagement, including, but not limited to, motivational interviewing and client-centered counseling.

(10) Services are informed by a harm-reduction philosophy that recognizes drug and alcohol use and addiction as a part of tenants’ lives, where tenants are engaged in nonjudgmental communication regarding drug and alcohol use, and where tenants are offered education regarding how to avoid risky behaviors and engage in safer practices, as well as connected to evidence-based treatment if the tenant so chooses.

(11) The project and specific apartment may include special physical features that accommodate disabilities, reduce harm, and promote health and community and independence among tenants.



AB 101 makes homeless facilities that apply these principles a "use by right" in mixed use zones or nonresidential zones permitting multi-family housing and prevents cities from applying local controls via conditional use permits or other discretionary reviews or approvals. If [like LB], a city accepts Sacramento homeless related funds, it "shall permit a Low Barrier Navigation Center development" that meets the following requirements:

(a) It offers services to connect people to permanent housing through a services plan that identifies services staffing.
(b) It is linked to a coordinated entry system, so that staff in the interim facility or staff who colocate in the facility may conduct assessments and provide services to connect people to permanent housing. ("Coordinated entry system" means a centralized or coordinated assessment system developed pursuant to Section 576.400(d) or Section 578.7(a)(8), as applicable, of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those sections read on January 1, 2020, and any related requirements, designed to coordinate program participant intake, assessment, and referrals.)
(c) It complies with Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 8255) of Division 8 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(d) It has a system for entering information regarding client stays, client demographics, client income, and exit destination through the local Homeless Management Information System as defined by Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

AB 101 also exempts from CEQA [public review and possible appeals] a public agency's action to lease, convey, or encumber land owned by a public entity or to facilitate the lease, conveyance, or encumbrance of land owned by a public agency, or to provide financial assistance to, or otherwise approve, a Low Barrier Navigation Center constructed or allowed by the bill.

AB 101 preempts local control by including this verbiage: "The Legislature finds and declares that Low Barrier Navigation Center developments are essential tools for alleviating the homelessness crisis in this state and are a matter of statewide concern and not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this article shall apply to all cities, including charter cities."

Impacts on revised LUE maps and now-advancing PEIR?

All of this comes as LB city staff is circulating a revised Program EIR (PEIR) accompanying Land Use Element (LUE) maps that the Council revised (after a stormy public process) by voted action on March 6, 2019. The revised PEIR is available on the city's website at at this link. The period for written public comments is open until August 16, 2019, after which the Planning Commission and City Council will hold hearings on certifying the PEIR and adopting final LUE maps.


Sacramento's "carrots" and "sticks"

AB 101 is part of what Governor Gavin Newsom has called a "carrot and stick" approach regarding housing. As a carrot, it offers state taxpayer dollars to cities that adopt what Sacramento calls "prohousing local policies" that "facilitate the planning, approval, or construction of housing. These may include, but aren't limited to the following:

(A) Local financial incentives for housing, including, but not limited to, establishing a local housing trust fund.

(B) Reduced parking requirements for sites that are zoned for residential development.

(C) Adoption of zoning allowing for use by right for residential and mixed-use development.

(D) Zoning more sites for residential development or zoning sites at higher densities than is required to accommodate the minimum existing regional housing need allocation for the current housing element cycle.

(E) Adoption of accessory dwelling unit ordinances or other mechanisms that reduce barriers for property owners to create accessory dwelling units beyond the requirements outlined in Section 65852.2, as determined by the department.

(F) Reduction of permit processing time.

(G) Creation of objective development standards.

(H) Reduction of development impact fees.

For the stick, AB 101 subjects cities to state lawsuits and fines if they don't meet Sacramento-decided standards in planning for new housing. It empowers the state Attorney General to sue cities, and courts to fine cities if the court finds a city's housing plan doesn't meet Sacramento-decided standards. After six months of fines, the court could take over the city's control of its housing plans.

Threatening cities with litigation is consistent with Gov. Newsom's action earlier this year in supporting a state lawsuit against the City of Huntington Beach (a charter city like Long Beach) that a state agency alleges (and the City of Huntington Beach denies) has failed to zone sufficient areas for housing.

Although LB is a charter city, LB Mayor Garcia (who doesn't set city policy) has expressed support for Governor Newsom's preemptive stance. None of LB's policy-setting Councilmember(s) have agendized an item to support the City of Huntington Beach in defending the rights of charter cities.

AB 101 allocates a quarter billion dollars statewide in state taxpayer funds to make it easier for regional government entities (like SCAG) and City Halls to comply with Sacramento's-desired policies and change regional policies to meet Sacramento's standards:



Local Government Planning Support Grants Program

...Allocates $250 million, as follows:

a) $125 million to councils of governments (COGs), specified counties, and other regional entities to increase housing planning and accelerate housing production, which may include developing and improving the regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) methodology for the sixth cycle, suballocating moneys to jurisdictions or other subregional entities in the form of grants for planning purposes, and providing jurisdictions and local agencies with technical assistance for updating planning and zoning documents.

b) $125 million to jurisdictions to assist in planning for other activities related to meeting the sixth cycle RHNA, based on the population size of that jurisdiction. Grants may be used for rezoning and encouraging development by updating planning documents and zoning ordinances, completing environmental clearances, establishing a workforce housing opportunity zone or a housing sustainability district, performing infrastructure planning, identifying excess property for residential development, revamping local planning processes, developing or improving an accessory dwelling unit ordinance in compliance with state law, and covering of costs of temporary staffing or consultants needed for these purposes.

...Requires HCD [Sac'to Dept. of Housing and Community Development], in collaboration with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), after engaging in stakeholder participation, to develop, by December 31, 2022, a recommended improved regional housing need allocation process and methodology that promotes and streamlines housing development, and to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature.




If didn't tell you, who would? Help keep our independent news with stories like this one alive and growing. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests or other special interests seeking or receiving benefits of City Council development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. No one in our ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

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