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California governor signs bills to speed homeless shelters

California is giving cities and counties more power to speed up the building of supportive housing and shelters amid a homelessness crisis.

Posted: Sep 27, 2019 12:14 PM

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is giving cities and counties more power to speed up the building of supportive housing and shelters amid a homelessness crisis.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 13 laws aimed at stemming the crisis Thursday. His action comes as Republican President Donald Trump criticizes California's handling of the issue, most recently blaming homelessness for water pollution .

California, the nation's most populous state, has a growing number of people living in the streets in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. But Newsom has accused Trump of politicizing the issue and called on the federal government to provide more aid to get people into housing.

Newsom said the bills he's signed will "give local governments even more tools to confront this crisis."

One new law that takes effect immediately lets Los Angeles bypass parts of the California Environmental Quality Act to build supportive housing and shelters. Another lets projects that will turn hotels into housing forego certain CEQA reviews through 2025.

"Supportive housing and shelters aren't being built quickly enough and as long as Californians are struggling to survive in our streets, we have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to provide the shelter and assistance they need to get back on their feet," Assemblyman Miguel Santaigo, a Los Angeles Democrat, said in a statement.

Some critics of CEQA have argued it can be weaponized to delay development of projects community residents might find unfavorable.

Another adds Orange and Alameda counties as well as San Jose to the list of places that can declare emergencies and build shelters on publicly owned land. It builds on a 2017 law that lets Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Santa Clara and San Francisco declare such crisis.

"I am optimistic that we will continue to work together to bring solutions to our homelessness crisis," said Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who authored the bill and represents parts of Orange County.

Los Angeles declared a shelter crisis after the 2017 law and set a goal of creating 750 to 1,500 new shelter beds, according to a bill analysis. So far it has opened 109 of those beds and has 170 under construction.

Another piece of legislation signed by Newsom exempts projects built with $2 billion in voter-approved bonds from environmental rules. The Sierra Club, an environmental group, opposed the legislation.

Other bills Newsom signed will:

—Allow for the use of vacant California armories to provide temporary shelter during hazardous weather.

—Create a legal framework for agreements with landlords allowing tenants to take in people at risk of homelessness.

—Let the California Department of Transportation lease property to local governments at a cost of $1 per month for emergency shelters.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19097

Reported Deaths: 326
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah445092
Washington283023
Marion266767
Umatilla199624
Clackamas140136
Malheur67310
Deschutes5378
Lane5183
Lincoln3919
Union3882
Jackson3851
Yamhill35911
Jefferson3103
Morrow3041
Polk28812
Linn24810
Klamath1941
Hood River1690
Wasco1613
Benton1556
Douglas1321
Josephine1051
Coos840
Clatsop800
Columbia780
Crook431
Lake320
Baker300
Tillamook280
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney80
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 512175

Reported Deaths: 9396
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1921774693
Orange37391651
Riverside37011695
San Bernardino32980417
San Diego29883565
Kern20545144
Fresno15083138
Alameda11524189
San Joaquin11483168
Santa Clara10626191
Sacramento10067142
Tulare9454178
Imperial9409220
Stanislaus9061110
Contra Costa7966125
Ventura734476
San Francisco681161
Santa Barbara616760
San Mateo5544119
Marin499470
Monterey482230
Kings438056
Merced428550
Solano361137
Sonoma305537
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo178315
Yolo154442
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7866
San Benito6434
El Dorado6371
Lassen6310
Yuba4854
Shasta3699
Glenn3251
Colusa3234
Mendocino3179
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake1951
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
Del Norte880
Siskiyou730
Mariposa562
Inyo511
Plumas330
Trinity50
Alpine20
Modoc20
Sierra20
Unassigned00
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