Today's Law As Amended


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AB-328 Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) People on parole are seven times more likely to recidivate when homeless than when housed.
(b) Evidence shows that “supportive housing,” or housing that is affordable to people on parole living in extreme poverty that does not limit length of stay and offers tenants services promoting housing stability, or access to job training that provides pathways to livable wage employment, reduces recidivism. In fact, data show evidence-based housing decreases recidivism rates by 60 percent, when compared to control groups, and reduces rearrests by 40 percent.
(c) About half of people experiencing homelessness report a history of incarceration.
(d) Formerly incarcerated people are 27 times more likely to be unstably housed or homeless than the general public. In fact, California data have estimated that one-third to one-half of all people on parole in San Francisco and Los Angeles are experiencing homelessness at any point in time.
(e) African Americans are almost seven times more likely to be homeless than the general population in California, driven by systemic racism that includes disproportionate incarceration, and discharges from prisons and jails into homelessness.
(f) Projected population decline in California’s state prisons in the next few years is expected to reduce future cost growth for Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), both through a reduction in inmates and staff, as well as the closure of two state facilities. In the short term, CDCR will avoid spending several hundreds of millions of dollars due to a decrease in prison population, which decreases per person costs for clothing, food, maintenance, and other costs of operating the prison. The closure of at least two state correctional facilities between 2021 and 2024 would yield savings in utilities, staffing, and equipment, as well as a reduction in the inmate and ward population. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates $1.5 billion in total costs could be avoided by 2025 as a result of additional prospective prison closures, freeing valuable resources that should be repurposed for sustainable criminal justice solutions.
(g) It is the intent of the Legislature to repurpose funding from the closure of state prisons to provide innovative or evidence-based solutions to house people experiencing homelessness with histories of incarceration.
(h) The Department of Housing and Community Development, with its expertise in overseeing grant programs for housing and services, counties and continuums of care, and community-based organizations, which often have experience providing housing and services to people exiting incarceration, is an appropriate entity to administer programs offering innovative or evidence-based housing and services interventions to people on parole experiencing homelessness.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 50492) is added to Part 2 of Division 31 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

CHAPTER  2.9. Reentry Housing And Workforce Development Program
50492.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Applicant” means a county, a community-based organization, or a continuum of care that has applied to receive funds under the program.
(b) “Chronically homeless” has the same meaning as in Parts 91 and 578 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those parts read on January 1, 2021, except that people who were chronically homeless before entering an institution would continue to be defined as chronically homeless upon discharge, regardless of length of institutional stay.
(c) “County” shall include a city that is also a county or cities working with counties to apply for grant funds.
(d) “Community-based organization” means a mission-driven nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(e) “Continuum of care” means a group organized to provide services under this chapter that is composed of representatives of organizations, including nonprofit homeless providers, victim service providers, faith-based organizations, governments, businesses, advocates, public housing agencies, school districts, social service providers, mental health agencies, hospitals, universities, affordable housing developers, law enforcement, organizations that serve homeless and formerly homeless veterans, and homeless and formerly homeless persons to the extent these groups are represented within the geographic area and are available to participate.
(f) “Coordinated entry system” means a centralized or coordinated process developed pursuant to Section 576.400 or 578.7, as applicable, of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as that section read on January 1, 2021, designed to coordinate program participant access, assessment, prioritization, and referrals. For purposes of this chapter, a centralized or coordinated assessment system shall cover the geographic area, be easily accessed by individuals and families seeking housing or services, be well advertised, and include a comprehensive and standardized assessment tool. However, the assessment tool may vary to assess the specific needs of an identified population. The centralized or coordinated assessment system shall also specify how it will address the needs of individuals or families who are fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(g) “Department” means the Department of Housing and Community Development, unless otherwise identified.
(h) “Fair market rent” means the rent, including the cost of utilities, as established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, pursuant to Part 888 and Part 982 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those parts read on January 1, 2021, for units by number of bedrooms, that must be paid in the market area to rent privately owned, existing, decent, safe, and sanitary rental housing of nonluxury nature with suitable amenities.
(i) “Homeless” has the same meaning as in Section 91.5 of Subpart A of Part 91 of Subtitle A of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, except that people exiting prison who were homeless when incarcerated and who have no identified residence upon exit, will also be considered “homeless” or “likely to become homeless upon release.”
(j) “Homeless service provider” means an organization that qualifies as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that contracts as a community-based organization, or with a participating county, or a continuum of care, for the purpose of providing services to people experiencing homelessness.
(k) “Housing First” has the same meaning as in Section 8255 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(l) “Permanent housing” means a structure or set of structures with subsidized or unsubsidized rental housing units subject to applicable landlord-tenant law, with no limit on length of stay and no requirement to participate in supportive services as a condition of access to or continued occupancy in the housing .
(m) “Housing navigation” means services that assist program participants with locating permanent housing with private market landlords or property managers who are willing to accept rental assistance or operating subsidies for the program participants to assist those program participants in obtaining local, state, or federal assistance or subsidies; completing housing applications for permanent housing or housing subsidies and, when applicable, move-in assistance; and obtaining documentation needed to access permanent housing and rental assistance or subsidies.
(n) “Innovative reentry housing” means approaches to reentry based on the latest aggregated data to provide housing and workforce development services designed to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety, and provide a pathway for people exiting incarceration to access a livable wage and long-term housing stability. Core components of Housing First, as defined in Section 8255 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, shall apply to innovative models, with a goal of allowing people to access and maintain permanent housing and employment stability.
(o) “Interim interventions” means low-barrier housing that does not qualify as permanent housing, as defined under subdivision (l), including, but not limited to, emergency shelters, motel vouchers, recovery-oriented interim interventions, Project Roomkey or Project Homekey, or reentry program sites used as interim housing, recuperative or respite care, or navigation centers as defined under other federal, state, or local programs. All programs providing interim housing funding pursuant to this chapter shall have partnerships or other linkages to homeless services to connect individuals or families to income, public benefits, health services, and permanent housing. “Low barrier” means the following:
(1) The interim intervention is a Housing First, service-enriched intervention focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to permanent housing, income, public benefits, and health services. Notwithstanding any other subdivision in this section, for purposes of interim interventions, “Housing First” shall not require a lease.
(2) The interim intervention utilizes best practices to reduce barriers to entry, including, but not limited to, allowing partners and older minors, unless the interim intervention is a population-specific site; allowing pets, with the exception of population specific sites; allowing storage of possessions; allowing residents to engage in treatment for substance use disorders, including obtaining medications for substance use disorder treatment; offering services that connect participants to workforce development services; providing services that help connect persons to permanent housing; providing privacy; and providing linkage to a coordinated entry system.
(3) The interim intervention offers a harm reduction approach, except where tenants request an abstinence-based model, or are enrolled in a population-specific reentry program.
(4) The interim intervention has a system for entering information regarding client stays, demographics, income, and exit destination though a local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) or similar system.
(p) “Likely to become homeless upon release” means the potential participant has a history of experiencing “homelessness” as that term is used in Section 11302(a) of Title 42 of the United States Code and who meets either of the following:
(1) The person has not identified a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence for release.
(2) The person has an identified residence that includes a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, or a public or private place not designed for, or is not ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
(q) “Operating subsidy” means a subsidy provided to housing projects offering affordable or supportive housing to participants, and that project received local, state, or federal subsidies, and that assist projects in paying for the costs of operating, staffing, and maintaining the project.
(r) “Program” means the Reentry Housing and Workforce Program.
(s) “Reasonable rent” means up to two times the fair market rent that is also consistent with market rent in the community in which the rental unit is located.
(t) “Rental assistance” means a rental subsidy provided to a housing provider, including a developer leasing affordable or supportive housing, to assist a tenant to pay the difference between 30 percent of the tenant’s income and either fair market rent or reasonable rent as determined by the grant recipient and approved by the department.
(u) “Subrecipient” means a unit of local government or a private nonprofit organization that the recipient determines is qualified to undertake the eligible activities for which the recipient seeks funds under the program, and that enters into a contract with the recipient to undertake those eligible activities in accordance with the requirements of the program.
(v) “Supportive housing” means permanent housing with no limit on the length of stay that is linked to onsite or offsite services that assist the supportive housing residents in retaining the housing, improving their health status, and maximizing their ability to live and, when possible, work in the community. “Permanent supportive housing” includes associated facilities if used to provide services to housing residents.
(w) “Tenancy acquisition services” means staff dedicated to engaging property owners to rent housing units to the eligible population through rental assistance.
(x) “Tenancy sustaining services” means using evidence-based service models to provide any of the following:
(1) Early identification and intervention of behaviors that may jeopardize housing security.
(2) Education and training on the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord.
(3) Coaching on developing and maintaining key relationships with landlords or property managers.
(4) Assistance in resolving disputes with landlords and neighbors to reduce the risk of eviction.
(5) Advocacy and linkage with community resources to prevent eviction when housing may become jeopardized.
(6) Care coordination and advocacy with health care professionals.
(7) Assistance with a housing recertification process.
(8) Coordinating with the tenant to review and update a housing support and crisis plan.
(9) Training in being a good tenant, and lease compliance.
(10) Benefits advocacy.
(11) Evidence-employment services.
(12) Services connecting individuals to education.
(13) Transportation services.
(14) Any other service that supports individuals and families to promote housing stability, foster community integration and inclusion, develops natural support networks, and that are offered through a trauma-informed, culturally competent approach.
(y) “Tenancy transition services” means using evidence-based service models to provide any of the following:
(1) Screening and assessing the tenant’s preferences and barriers to successful tenancy.
(2) Developing an individualized housing support plan that includes motivational interviewing and goal setting.
(3) Assistance with the housing application and search process.
(4) Identifying resources to cover expenses for move-in and furniture costs.
(5) Ensuring that the living environment is safe and ready for move-in.
(6) Assisting and arranging for the details of the move.
(7) Developing a housing support crisis plan that includes prevention and early intervention when housing is jeopardized.
(8) Engagement services.
(9) Any other evidence-based services that an individual tenant may require to move into permanent housing.
(z) “Voluntary services” means services offered in conjunction with housing where the housing is not contingent on participation in services, tenants are not evicted based on failure to participate in services, the service provider encourages the tenant to participate in services using evidence-based engagement models, and services are flexible and tenant-centered.
(aa) “Workforce development” means programs and services that provide people on parolees or those discharged suffering from incarceration within the past five years with job skill development and placement services in livable wage employment.
50492.1.
 (a) There is hereby created the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will calculate the annual costs avoided that result from the closure or warm shutdown of prisons and to redirect 80 percent of those costs avoided to the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program within six months.
(b) On or before July 1, 2022, the department shall do all of the following to create the program to, upon appropriation by the Legislature, provide grants for innovative or evidence-based housing, housing-based services, and employment interventions to allow people with recent histories of incarceration to exit homelessness and remain stably housed:
(1) Establish a process, in collaboration with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and with counties in which recipients are operating, for referral of participants who volunteer to participate in the program.
(2) Establish protocols in collaboration with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, at least one community-based organization working to reenter people into communities after discharge, and at least one organization working to provide housing opportunities to people experiencing homelessness, to prevent discharges from prison into homelessness. No person shall be held past their scheduled discharge date from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as a result of homelessness.
(3) Issue guidelines establishing the grant program and a notice of funding availability or request for proposals for five-year renewable grants to applicants based on criteria to score applicants for grant funds competitively. Guidelines shall include the following:
(A) Applicants shall meet all of the following criteria:
(i) The applicant has a contract or memorandum of understanding with or administers the homeless continuum of care, or is offering “innovative reentry housing,” as described in this chapter.
(ii) The applicant has at least two years of experience, or intends to partner with community-based providers with at least this level of experience, or has demonstrated a similar level of organizational ability, to connect people experiencing homelessness to housing and, in the case of providers with two or more years of experience, has achieved a documented housing retention rate in that housing of at least 80 percent.
(iii) The applicant has, or plans to partner with organizations that have, at least two years of experience providing best practice or evidence-based workforce development services.
(iv) The applicant has built a network of agencies that provide services to help people re-enter communities from incarceration, particularly people experiencing homelessness or lack of livable wage employment, in the community in which the applicant intends to provide services or housing.
(v) The applicant has a structure for providing outreach and housing navigation.
(vi) The applicant has relationships with the coordinated entry system serving the geographic area in which the applicant is intending to offer housing.
(vii) The applicant has or plans to have all of the following:
(I) Removed barriers to hiring people with lived experience of incarceration who are living stably in the community.
(II) Employed people with lived experience of incarceration and homelessness who are living stably in the community.
(III) If a community-based organization, at least one individual with lived experience of incarceration and homelessness who are living stably in the community, on the board of directors.
(B) Applicants shall submit all of the following:
(i) A viable plan to provide permanent housing with services based on evidence-based practices, as described in Section 50492.3, or a plan to provide innovative reentry housing, as described in this chapter.
(ii) Performance metrics and goals the applicants shall achieve through this program.
(iii) A description of experience in successfully administering or overseeing, or the ability to successfully administer or oversee, the activities the recipient plans to fund through the program.
(C) Of the total allocated to the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, at least 10 percent, but no more than 20 percent, of the funds shall be allocated to community-based organizations providing innovative reentry housing that comply with the following:
(i) Programs that provide a pathway for participants to access livable wage jobs and permanent housing programs.
(ii) Recipients are community-based organizations that meet all of the following criteria:
(I) Are led by people with lived experience of incarceration in executive level positions.
(II) Employ at least 25 percent of staff with lived experience of incarceration who are now stably housed.
(III) Provide or subcontract to provide housing navigation services in locating and moving into affordable permanent housing.
(iii) Offer a voluntary services model.
(iv) Offer participants, either through direct service provision or a subcontract, the following:
(I) An independent, safe, and decent place to live that participants can afford, where participants shall not be required to share a bedroom.
(II) Evidence-based engagement services to promote participation in services.
(III) Best practice or evidence-based workforce development services to help participants access and obtain livable wage jobs.
(IV) Housing navigation and housing acquisition services to access any housing subsidies participants need and assistance in locating and moving into affordable permanent housing.
(v) Recipients shall not evict a participant for not participating in services or treatment. Recipients shall not end a participant’s housing or evict a participant unless and until a participant has obtained permanent housing of their choice.
(D) Scoring criteria shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(i) Need, which includes consideration of the number of individuals experiencing homelessness, people on parole, and people with recent histories of incarceration, to the extent data are available, in the community in which applicants will be serving eligible participants.
(ii) Experience providing or demonstrated ability to provide evidence-based tenancy acquisition and housing navigation, tenancy transition, and tenancy sustaining services, evidence-based employment services, and services to people reentering communities from jail or prison.
(iii) The extent of coordination and collaboration between the county, the homeless continuum of care covering the geographic area, and community-based organizations with a history of serving people reentering communities from incarceration.
(iv) Experience using Housing First core components to address the needs of the eligible population.
(v) Partnerships and contractual agreements demonstrating an ability of the applicant or proposed subrecipients to administer or partner to administer funding for rental assistance and evidence-based services interventions.
(vi) The applicant’s documented partnerships with affordable and supportive housing providers and housing navigator providers in the jurisdiction.
(vii) Demonstrated commitment to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness and recent incarceration through existing programs or programs planned to be implemented within 12 months.
(viii) Proposed use of funds and the extent to which the proposed use will lead to overall reductions in homelessness and recidivism.
(ix) For county applicants, the extent to which an applicant demonstrates housing authorities or other county-run housing authorities have eliminated or plan to eliminate restrictions against people with arrests or criminal convictions to access publicly funded housing subsidies, notwithstanding restrictions mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
(c) (1) Individuals and household members in families are eligible for participation in a program funded pursuant to a grant through this chapter if they meet all of the following conditions:
(A) Individuals or families voluntarily choose to participate.
(B) One of the following applies:
(i) Individuals who have been assigned a date of release from prison within 60 to 180 days and they are likely to become homeless upon release.
(ii) Individuals are currently experiencing homelessness as a person on parole or post-release community supervision after discharge from prison.
(iii) Individuals are currently experiencing homelessness and were incarcerated in state prison within the last five years.
(2) A participant shall continue to receive housing and services funded under the program after discharge from parole, so long as the participant needs this assistance.
(3) Recipients shall ensure participants have choice in where to live and the services that they would like to receive, unless enrolled in a population-specific program, and to the extent allowable under conditions of parole or probation.
50492.2.
 (a) A recipient in the program shall use program funds for the following eligible activities based on the needs of the participants:
(1) Long-term rental assistance in permanent housing in an amount the applicant identifies, but no more than reasonable rent for the community in which the housing is located.
(2) Interim interventions.
(3) Operating subsidies in new and existing affordable or supportive housing units, in an amount the applicant identifies, but no more than reasonable rent for the community in which the project is located. Operating subsidies may include capitalized operating subsidy reserves.
(4) Incentives to landlords, including, but not limited to, security deposits, holding fees, and incentives for landlords to accept rental assistance or operating subsidies.
(5) Innovative or evidence-based services to assist participants in accessing permanent housing, including supportive housing, and to promote stability in housing, including services identified in subdivision (c).
(6) If necessary, and upon demonstrated need, operating support for interim interventions with services to meet the specific needs of the eligible population.
(b) Recipients shall ensure service providers offer evidence-based voluntary services in conjunction with housing to obtain and maintain health and housing stability while participants are on parole and after discharge from parole, for as long as the participant needs the services or until the grant period ends.
(c) Once a participant is released or for participants living in the community, the services shall be offered to participants in their home, or be made as easily accessible to participants as possible. These services shall include the following:
(1) In-reach services to assist eligible participants at least 90 days prior to release from prison, to include any of the other services in this subdivision.
(2) Parole discharge planning.
(3) Housing navigation and tenancy acquisition services.
(4) Tenancy transition services.
(5) Tenancy supportive services.
(6) Food security services.
(7) For housed participants or participants once they are housed, innovative or evidence-based employment services that assist participants to obtain meaningful employment and a liveable wage.
(8) Linkage to other services, including education and childcare services, as needed.
(9) Benefit entitlement application and appeal assistance, as needed.
(10) Transportation assistance to obtain services and health care, as needed.
(11) Assistance obtaining appropriate identification, as needed.
(12) Teaching people to navigate disabilities.
(13) As necessary, assistance in performance activities of daily living and other personal care services.
(14) Wrap-around services, including linkage to Medi-Cal funded mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, and medical treatment, as medically necessary.
(d) For participants identified prior to release from prison, upon the provider’s receipt of referral and in collaboration with the parole agent and, if appropriate, staff, the intake coordinator or case manager of the provider shall:
(1) Receive all prerelease assessments and discharge plans.
(2) Partner with providers working in the geographic area where a participant is incarcerated, when participants are incarcerated outside of the recipient’s geographic reach.
(3) Draft a plan for the participant’s transition into interim interventions, and then affordable or supportive housing.
(4) Engage the participant to actively participate in services upon release on a voluntary basis.
(5) Assist in obtaining identification for the participant, if necessary.
(6) Assist in applying for any benefits for which the participant is eligible.
50492.3.
 (a) Recipients and providers shall adhere to the core components of Housing First.
(b) Providers shall identify and locate housing opportunities for participants prior to release from state prison or as quickly upon release from state prison as possible.
(c) Housing identified pursuant to subdivision (b) shall satisfy all of the following:
(1) The housing is located in an apartment building, townhouse, or single-family home, including rent-subsidized apartments leased in the open market or set aside within privately owned buildings, or affordable or supportive housing receiving a publicly funded subsidy.
(2) The housing is not subject to community care licensing requirements or is exempt from licensing under Section 1504.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
50492.4.
 (a) The department shall distribute funds allocated by executing contracts with awarded entities that shall be for a term of five years, subject to automatic renewal. After a contract has expired pursuant to this subdivision, any funds not expended for eligible activities shall revert to the department for use for the program.
(b) A recipient shall submit to the department an annual report on a form issued by the department, pertaining to the recipient’s program or project selection process, contract expenditures, and progress toward meeting state and local goals, as demonstrated by the performance measures set forth in the application. Recipients shall, along with any other data as required by the department, report all of the following on an annual basis:
(1) The number of participants served.
(2) The types of services that were provided to program participants.
(3) Whether the recipient met performance metrics identified in their application.
(4) The outcomes for participants, including the number who remain permanently housed, the number who ceased to participate in the program and the reason why, the number who participated in workforce development programs, including the number of participants placed in livable wage employment, the number who returned to state prison or were incarcerated in county jail, the number of arrests among participants, and the number of days in jail or prison among participants, to the extent data are available.
(c) As part of the annual report required pursuant to subdivision (b), the recipient shall report to the department on the expenditures and activities of any subrecipients for each year of the term of the contract with the department until all funds awarded to a subrecipient have been expended.
(d) The department shall design an evaluation and hire an independent evaluator to assess outcomes from the program, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) The total number of parolees served and the type of interventions provided.
(2) The housing status of participants at 12, 24, and 36 months after entering the program, to the extent data are available, including how many participants remain in permanent housing.
(3) Recidivism among participants, including the number of arrests, days incarcerated, and incarceration in jail or prison.
(4) The total number of participants who accessed an innovative reentry housing program. For participants in these programs, the evaluator shall assess both of the following:
(A) The number of placements in livable wage employment.
(B) The number of placements who transitioned into permanent housing, and whether the participants require housing subsidies to afford that housing.
(e) The department may monitor the expenditures and activities of the recipient, as the department deems necessary, to ensure compliance with program requirements.
(f) The department may, as it deems appropriate or necessary, request the repayment of funds from an administrative entity or pursue any other remedies available to it by law for failure to comply with program requirements.
(g) The department shall submit, on or before February 1, 2025, the analysis prepared pursuant to subdivision (d) to the chairs of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, the Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety, the Senate Committee on Housing, and the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.