Sacramento (Calif.) — Today a major step forward to stem the rise of homelessness and protect California renters and tenants —the Homelessness Prevention Act (SB 567) authored by Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles)—passed through the Senate Judiciary committee with a leadership majority. As evictions rise and homelessness increases, SB 567 responds to the lived experience millions of California’s renters face by strengthening The California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) to protect families from falling into homelessness. Hundreds of our neighbors who rent in California—including labor, advocates, and faith leaders—gathered at the state capitol to tell their stories and voice their strong support of SB567. The Homelessness Prevention Act closes easily exploitable loopholes used by unscrupulous corporate landlords and provides enforcement tools that protect our neighbors—workers, families, and seniors—from arbitrary evictions and displacement.
The Homelessness Prevention Act is being co-sponsored by ACCE, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, PICO California, Public Advocates, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. With over 250 diverse organizations supporting the bill, this powerful coalition is led by a steering committee composed of the co-sponsors as well as Housing Now!, Inner City Law Center, the Million Voters Project, PolicyLink, and Tenants Together, united in an effort to make housing affordable and disrupt the displacement crisis that is disproportionately impacting working class communities of color.
“I want to thank our community and partners for working diligently with us to pass a key policy vote. SB 567 is committed to closing existing loopholes in state tenant protections law and ensuring it is enforced,” said Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). “These are key components to advance as we seek to proactively address the state homelessness humanitarian crisis, by keeping our families in their homes. I look forward to continuing to see this measure move ahead.”
“As a single mom of two kids that is currently receiving a no-fault ‘substantial renovation’ eviction for a plumbing job that only takes a few days, passing Senate Bill 567 feels like a life and death situation for me. If we are not allowed to return to our home at the rent amount we had paid before our plumbing was repaired, we will likely be homeless. Everyone deserves safe, healthy and affordable housing – and that means repairs without rent hikes or evictions. I am grateful that the Senate Judiciary committee took an important step forward towards realizing that value today, and at ACCE we look forward to working with legislators to lower the rent cap moving forward.” – Patricia Mendoza, leader with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), resident of Imperial Beach
“For our low-income rural and farmworker clients, this bill provides vital improvements to the Tenant Protection Act and we are pleased that the measure approved by the Judiciary Committee retains critical provisions to close loopholes in the Act that have left too many of our clients vulnerable to eviction,” said Brian Augusta, Legislative Advocate, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.
“SB 567 passing means that my family doesn’t have to fear our landlord kicking us out onto the streets just to raise rents. These protections give us the peace of mind to know our home is safe from predatory landlords exploiting loopholes in AB 1482.” Alejandra Velasco, leader with Faith in the Valley, a PICO California Federation, resident of Taft.
“There’s never a dull moment in the legislature. A last minute agreement helped move this bill forward, unfortunately without the rent cap,” said Michelle Pariset, Director of Legislative Affairs, Public Advocates. “Closing the loopholes in just cause protections will benefit millions of California renters and we need to make these laws enforceable. We’re excited for the next step.”
“California legislators must use every tool available to keep people housed as we’re facing a housing and homelessness crisis. The passage of this bill is a step in that direction to prevent unjust evictions. We look forward to working with legislators on advancing key enforcement protections,” said Tina Rosales, policy advocate at Western Center on Law and Poverty.
In order to address California’s growing affordable housing and homelessness pandemic our state’s leadership must first prevent more community members from being unhoused; creating stronger renter protections that help every Californian have access to safe shelter is one cost-effective solution. As inflation soars and state and local eviction protections enacted during the pandemic come to an end, the gaps in existing state protections are impacting more and more renters, who are facing significant rent increases and a spike in “no fault” evictions. The Homelessness Prevention Act will provide critical safeguards to stop abuses and ensure that renters can stay in their homes.
We hope our elected leaders will partner with Senator Durazo to help keep families housed and our diverse communities together.