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SB-258 California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program: grants: homeless shelters: pets and veterinary services.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/10/2019 09:00 PM
SB258:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  July 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  May 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 28, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 258


Introduced by Senator Hertzberg
(Coauthors: Senators Beall, Chang, Stone, and Wiener)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Gabriel, Mullin, and Quirk-Silva)

February 12, 2019


An act to add Section 50491 to the Health and Safety Code, relating to homeless shelters.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 258, as amended, Hertzberg. California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program: grants: homeless shelters: pets and veterinary services.
Existing law establishes the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program, under the administration of the Department of Housing and Community Development and requires the department to, among other things, provide rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services to ensure housing affordability to people who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness.
This bill would require the department to develop and administer a program to award grants to qualified homeless shelters, as described, for the provision of shelter, food, and basic veterinary services for pets owned by people experiencing homelessness.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California is experiencing increased homelessness.
(b) According to Pets of the Homeless, of the 3,500,000 Americans who are homeless, 5 to 10 percent have dogs or cats.
(c) Many shelters, motels, and other assisted housing programs do not permit animals on their property, pushing potential recipients to live in cars, recreational vehicles (RVs), and tent camps.
(d) Being asked to abandon a pet is a major barrier to engaging homeless persons to use services and is emotionally draining to an already vulnerable population.
(e) Pets provide warmth, security, and companionship to many who sleep on the streets. Pets also provide a type of normalcy, as providing food and water for their pets helps some homeless persons connect with reality.
(f) After surrendering a pet, owners reunite with their dogs only 15 percent of the time, while 60 percent or more of animals are left in the animal shelter system and most will die.
(g) By providing services for pets whose owners are without a home, both ends of the leash would be getting needed assistance. More homeless people in need would be inclined to obtain medical and living assistance, and the conditions for their pets would be improved.

SEC. 2.

 Section 50491 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

50491.
 (a) The department shall develop and administer a program to award grants to qualified homeless shelters for the provision of shelter, food, and basic veterinary services for pets owned by people experiencing homelessness.
(b) In selecting recipients for grants, the department shall consider whether a qualified homeless shelter was developed using a streamlined approval process.

(b)

(c) For purposes of this section, a “qualified homeless shelter” means a homeless shelter that meets all of the following conditions:
(1) It has rules of conduct and responsibility regarding pets and their owners.
(2) It provides crates or kenneling either near bunks or in a separate area.
(3) It provides food for both people experiencing homelessness and their pets.
(4) It offers the services of a veterinarian, including spay and neutering services.