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AB-362 Homeless shelters: safety regulations.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 05/04/2021 09:00 PM
AB362:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 20, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 362


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk-Silva

February 01, 2021


An act to add Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 18970) to Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to housing.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 362, as amended, Quirk-Silva. Homeless shelters: safety regulations.
Existing law establishes, among various other programs intended to address homelessness in this state, the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention program for the purpose of providing jurisdictions with one-time grant funds to support regional coordination and expand or develop local capacity to address their immediate homelessness challenges informed by a best-practices framework focused on moving homeless individuals and families into permanent housing and supporting the efforts of those individuals and families to maintain their permanent housing.
This bill would establish minimum health and safety standards for homeless shelters, as defined, including, but not limited to, minimum standards for homeless shelter maintenance, interior air quality, sleeping rooms, and laundries. The bill would require the housing, building, or health department of a local agency to serve as the enforcement agency and enforce the minimum health and safety standards within their jurisdiction, unless the local agency enters an agreement with the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Department of Housing and Community Development to enforce those standards.
This bill would authorize the officers or agents of the enforcement agency to enter all homeless shelters within their jurisdiction and inspect all accommodations, equipment, or paraphernalia used in connection with a homeless shelter in order to secure the enforcement with these provisions. The bill would require an enforcement agency that determines a homeless shelter is in violation with these provisions to issue a notice of violation to the owner or operator of the homeless shelter, as specified. The bill would require the enforcement agency to conduct at least one announced or unannounced inspection of each homeless shelter within its jurisdiction in every 6 months.
This bill would require the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency to deem a substandard homeless shelter that fails to come into compliance with these provisions within a specified time ineligible for state funding and federal passthrough funding, as specified. The bill would define “state funding” and “federal passthrough funding” to mean any grant, loan, or other type of financial assistance provided under the federal State Community Development Block Grant Program, the federal Emergency Solutions Grants Program, and other specified funding awarded by the state on or after July 1, 2021. The bill would terminate specified state funding and federal passthrough funding of a homeless shelter deemed ineligible under these provisions and would deem the homeless shelter ineligible for future state funding and federal passthrough funding opportunities, except as specified.
This bill would require an enforcement agency to report homeless shelters that fail to comply with these provisions to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, as specified. The bill would require each enforcement agency to submit an annual report to the agency regarding the compliance of each homeless shelter within its jurisdiction that includes specified information.
This bill would authorize the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency to adopt regulations regarding the construction and operation of homeless shelters that it determines are reasonably necessary for the protection of life and property and to carry out the purposes of these provisions, as specified.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 18970) is added to Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

PART 2.8. Homeless Shelters

CHAPTER  1. General Provisions

18970.
 For purposes of this part:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Housing and Community Development.

(a)

(b) “Enforcement agency” is the local agency tasked with enforcing this part pursuant to Section 18971 or the state agency department if the local agency and the state agency department have entered an agreement pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 18971.

(b)“Homeless shelter” has the same meaning as “emergency shelter,” as defined in Section 576.2 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(c) “Homeless shelter” means all of the following:
(1) An emergency shelter, as defined in Section 576.2 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(2) An emergency shelter, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 50801.
(3) A navigation center, as defined in Section 50216.

(c)

(d) “Local agency” means any city, county, or city and county.

(d)

(e) “Shelter unfit for human habitation, use, or occupancy” means any homeless shelter that, by reason of its construction or due to the lack of maintenance or repair thereof, is in such a condition as to create a hazard to the health, welfare, or safety of its occupants.

(e)

(f) “State agency” means the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.

(f)

(g) “Substandard homeless shelter” means any homeless shelter, through lack of maintenance or repair, that generally endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public, or of the occupants of the shelter. “Substandard homeless shelter” also includes any homeless shelter that fails to comply with any health and safety requirement established in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 18972).

18970.1.
 (a) The requirements of this part are in addition to any federal, state, or local building, safety, and sanitation standards applicable to a homeless shelter. This part does not preempt or invalidate any federal, state, or local building, safety, and sanitation standard that provides greater protection to the occupants of a homeless shelter.
(b) The remedies provided by this part are cumulative, and shall not be construed to supersede any other law providing sanctions for violators of this part.

CHAPTER  2. Enforcement

18971.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the housing, building, or health department of a local agency shall enforce the minimum health and safety standards established in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 18972) within its jurisdiction.
(b) The state agency department may enforce the minimum health and safety standards established in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 18972) if the local agency enters into a written agreement with the state agency department to enforce this part.
(c) The officers or agents of the enforcement agency may do either of the following:
(1) Enter public or private property to determine whether there exists any homeless shelter to which this part applies.
(2) Enter and inspect homeless shelters within their jurisdiction and inspect all accommodations, equipment, or paraphernalia used in connection with the shelter in order to secure the enforcement of this part and the regulations adopted pursuant to this part.

18971.1.
 (a) If, upon inspection, the enforcement agency determines that a homeless shelter is in violation of any provision of this part, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the enforcement agency shall promptly, but not later than 10 days, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, after the enforcement agency completes the inspection and determines that the alleged violation exists, issue a notice to correct the violation to the owner or operator of the homeless shelter.
(b) In the event of a violation that constitutes an imminent threat to the health and safety of the occupants of the homeless shelter, the notice of violation shall be issued immediately and served on the owner or operator of the homeless shelter.
(c) The owner or operator of the homeless shelter shall be responsible for the correction of any violations for which a notice of violation has been given pursuant to this section.
(d) Service of the notice of violation shall be effected either personally or by first-class mail. Each notice of violation shall be in writing and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation in as clear language as the technicality of the violation will allow the average layperson to understand what is being cited, including a reference to the statutory provisions or regulation alleged to have been violated, as well as any penalty provided by law for failure to make timely correction.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the enforcement agency may, at its sole discretion, determine not to issue a notice of violation pursuant to this chapter if the condition that violates this part or the regulations adopted pursuant thereto does not constitute an imminent hazard representing an immediate risk to life, health, and safety and requiring immediate correction. If the enforcement agency determines, pursuant to this subdivision, not to issue a notice of violation, the enforcement agency shall include in its inspection report a description of the condition that violates this part and its determination not to issue a notice of violation.
(f) (1) The enforcement agency shall notify the state agency whenever a homeless shelter is deemed a substandard homeless shelter and fails to come into compliance with this part within three months.
(2) In the event that a violation requires more than three months to correct, the homeless shelter may submit an acceptable plan for correction to the enforcement agency, which shall be reviewed and approved by the state agency. A homeless shelter shall not be deemed ineligible for state funding and federal passthrough funding pursuant to Section 18971.5 due to violations that are being corrected through the plan for correction, unless the homeless shelter fails to comply with the plan for correction.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, in the event that the enforcement agency determines that deficiencies, violations, or conditions exist at a homeless shelter that are dangerous, hazardous, imminently detrimental to life or health, or otherwise render the homeless shelter unfit for human habitation, the enforcement agency may issue an emergency order directing the facility to take immediate measures to rectify those deficiencies, violations, or conditions.

18971.2.
 If the owner or operator of the homeless shelter disputes a determination by the enforcement agency regarding the alleged violation, the alleged failure to correct the violation in the required timeframe, or the reasonableness of the deadline for correction specified by the notice of violation, the owner or operator may request an informal conference with the enforcement agency. The informal conference, and any subsequent hearings or appeals of the decision of the enforcement agency, shall be conducted in accordance with procedures prescribed by the state agency.

18971.3.
 (a) The enforcement agency shall conduct at least one announced or unannounced inspection of each homeless shelter within its jurisdiction in every six-month period.
(b) The enforcement agency shall maintain all records on file of each homeless shelter inspection. These records shall be made available to the public for inspection.

18971.4.
 (a) The primary purpose of enforcement under this part shall be to secure compliance with the minimum health and safety standards applicable to homeless shelters.
(b) A local agency that is responsible for the enforcement of this part may impose fines and other sanctions on a homeless shelter that fails to take remedial action to cure any violation under this part. Any fine or sanction imposed under this section shall be adopted and imposed in accordance with local requirements.

18971.5.
 (a) (1) The state agency shall deem a homeless shelter ineligible for the state funding and federal passthrough funding if the homeless shelter fails to come into compliance with this part within the required timeframe pursuant to subdivisions (f) and (g) of Section 18971.1, and any homeless shelter with four or more violations of this part within one year shall be deemed ineligible for state or passthrough federal funding by the state agency.
(2) The state agency shall notify relevant agencies and departments that administer state funding and federal passthrough funding when a homeless shelter is deemed ineligible for state funding and federal passthrough funding pursuant to this section.
(b) (1) A homeless shelter deemed ineligible pursuant to this section shall have any current federal passthrough funding terminated.
(2) A homeless shelter deemed ineligible pursuant to this section shall have any one-time state funding established through the Budget Act for the 2021–2022 fiscal year and awarded before the effective date of this chapter terminated.
(3) Except as provided in subdivision (d), state and passthrough funding for an ineligible homeless shelter shall not be renewed and the homeless shelter shall be ineligible for future state funding and federal passthrough funding opportunities.
(c) Any state department or agency that administers a program that provides funding to homeless shelters shall not award any state funding and federal passthrough funding to a homeless shelter that is deemed ineligible for funding under this section.
(d) The state agency may restore the shelter’s eligibility for state funding and federal passthrough funding after the homeless shelter provider demonstrates continuous satisfaction with this part and any other minimum health and safety standards for homeless shelters for at least one year.
(e) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Federal passthrough funding” means any grant, loan, or other type of financial assistance provided to a homeless shelter under either of the following programs:
(A) The federal State Community Development Block Grant Program (42 U.S.C. Sec. 5301 et seq.).
(B) The federal Emergency Solutions Grants Program (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11371 et seq.).
(2) “State funding” means any grant, loan, or other type of financial assistance awarded to a homeless shelter on or after July 1, 2021, from the following sources:
(A) The Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 50216) of Part 1 of Division 31).
(B) Future one-time state funding for homelessness services.

18971.6.
 (a) The enforcement agency shall provide an annual report to the state agency on the compliance of each homeless shelter within its jurisdiction with this part. The annual report shall, at a minimum, include all of the following information:
(1) Results of each unannounced inspection conducted pursuant to Section 18971.3, including any violation of this part.
(2) Any complaints submitted to the enforcement agency and the results of any inspection conducted in response to the complaint.
(3) Any remedial action taken to resolve a violation of this part.
(4) The amount of time taken to resolve each violation of this part.
(5) Whether the remedial action or actions brought the homeless shelter into compliance with this part.
(b) The annual report, and each individual complaint and inspection report discussed in the annual report, shall be made available to the public for inspection.

CHAPTER  3. Minimum Shelter Standards

18972.
 (a) A homeless shelter shall be structurally sound to protect residents from the elements and not pose any threat to health and safety of the residents.
(b) A homeless shelter shall be maintained in good repair.

18972.1.
 (a) Each room or space within a homeless shelter shall provide a natural or mechanical means of ventilation.
(b) The interior air of a homeless shelter shall be free of pollutants at a level that might threaten or harm the health of the occupants.

18972.2.
 (a) No person shall occupy a homeless shelter that is detrimental to the health of the occupant or occupants by reason of overcrowding or insufficiency of light, windows, ventilation, or drainage.
(b) The window area of any room used for sleeping purposes in a homeless shelter shall not be less than one-eighth of the floor area. Windows shall be at least one-half openable or the room shall be completely air conditioned as needed to maintain a maximum room temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours per day.

18972.3.
 (a) All laundries of a homeless shelter shall be located inside a building. All floors, walls, and ceilings of the laundries shall be kept clean and in good repair.
(b) Washing machines shall be installed in a manner that the area under and around the machines may be kept clean and in good repair.

18972.4.
 (a) A homeless shelter shall have all necessary heating and cooling facilities in proper operating condition.
(b) (1) A homeless shelter shall provide heating facilities capable of maintaining a minimum room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a point three feet above the floor in all habitable rooms.
(2) Homeless shelter providers shall be required to provide heat at a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours per day.
(3) A homeless shelter shall be prohibited from using unvented fuel burning heaters.
(4) Homeless shelter providers shall provide cooling facilities as needed to maintain a maximum room temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours per day.
(c) Heating and cooling facilities shall be installed and maintained in a safe condition and in accordance with all applicable laws.

18972.5.
 (a) A homeless shelter shall provide adequate natural or artificial illumination to permit normal indoor activities and support health and safety of the occupants.
(b) A homeless shelter shall provide sufficient electrical sources to permit the safe use of electrical appliances.

18972.6.
 Each admitted occupant of a homeless shelter shall receive access to sanitary facilities that are in proper operating condition, private, and adequate for personal cleanliness and the disposal of human waste.

18972.7.
 (a) A homeless shelter shall contain a lavatory and bathtub or shower.
(b) A homeless shelter shall provide a minimum of one shower and one toilet for every 15 occupants of the homeless shelter. It is the intent of the Legislature that a homeless shelter aim to provide a minimum of one shower and one toilet for every 10 occupants, to the extent possible.
(c) Lavatories, bathtubs, and showers shall provide hot and cold running water under pressure.
(d) Toilet rooms, bath and shower rooms, and utility rooms shall be adequately lighted and ventilated to the outside atmosphere. These rooms and the fixtures and equipment therein shall be maintained in a state of good repair and free from dirt, filth, and corrosion.
(e) Toilets and bathrooms shall be serviced as often as needed to maintain them in a state of good repair.
(f) Toilet rooms of a homeless shelter shall comply with all of the following:
(1) Toilet rooms shall be separated by well-fitted, self-closing doors that prevent the passage of flies, dust, or odors.
(2) Each toilet stall shall include a door with locking mechanism and a permanently installed dispenser with toilet tissue.
(3) Handwashing facilities shall be provided within or adjacent to toilet rooms. The number of handwashing facilities required shall be in accordance with local building and plumbing codes.
(4) Handwashing facilities shall be provided with handwashing cleanser and sanitary single-use towels or an air hand-drying device at, or adjacent to, each handwashing facility.
(g) For purposes of this section, “hot water” means water supplied to plumbing fixtures at a temperature of not less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, provided that the hot water shall not exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

18972.8.
 (a) A homeless shelter shall provide each occupant with an acceptable place to sleep and adequate space and security for themselves and their belongings.
(b) This section shall not apply to a homeless shelter that is intended for day use only.

18972.9.
 (a) Homeless shelters that use beds shall provide an adequate amount of clean bedding, cots and springs, and mattresses in good repair.
(b) All beds, cots, springs, and mattresses shall be maintained in a sanitary condition and, after being used by one person, shall be thoroughly cleaned before being used by another person as necessary to properly care for the persons occupying the homeless shelter.
(c) Homeless shelters shall provide all of the following:
(1) An adequate amount of clean linen.
(2) An adequate and suitable space for the storage of clean linens.
(d) (1) Soiled linens shall be kept in nonabsorbent receptacles or washable laundry bags and properly stored and transported to prevent contamination.
(2) Linens shall be laundered as often as necessary, but no less than weekly.
(3) If linens are laundered on the premises, they shall be laundered in a mechanical clothes washer and dryer that is cleaned and sanitized before and after each use.

18972.10.
 Food preparation areas of a homeless shelter, if any, shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare, and serve food in a safe and sanitary manner.

18972.11.
 There shall be at least one working smoke detector in each occupied unit of a homeless shelter. Where possible, smoke detectors shall be located near sleeping areas. The fire alarm system shall be designed for hearing-impaired residents. All public areas of the shelter shall have at least one working smoke detector. There shall also be a second means of exiting the building in the event of fire or other emergency.

18972.12.
 A homeless shelter shall be free of infestations of insects, vermin, or rodents, as determined by the enforcement agency.

18972.13.
 A homeless shelter shall be free of visible mold growth, as determined by the enforcement agency, excluding the presence of mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of properly functioning and intended use.

18972.14.
 (a) The owner or operator of a homeless shelter shall post in a common area accessible by all residents and the general public a placard provided by the state agency.
(b) (1) The state agency shall develop a placard that meets the requirements of this section and issue a placard to a homeless shelter upon request.
(2)  The placard shall provide contact information for a complaint line, the definition for substandard homeless shelters as defined in Section 18970, and any other information deemed necessary by the state agency.
(c) For purposes of this section, “common area, accessible by all tenants and the general public” means any of the following:
(1) Posted in a conspicuous location within five feet of the main entrance of the homeless shelter.
(2) Posted in or near the outside of the door of the homeless shelter manager, if one exists.
(3) Posted in a location as directed and determined in the discretion of the designated local enforcement agency, such as the county health department or county housing department, to ensure proper notice to all occupants and the general public.

18972.15.
 The state agency may adopt regulations regarding the construction and operation of homeless shelters that it determines are reasonably necessary for the protection of life and property and to carry out the purposes of this part. The state agency may propose and submit building standards for approval pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5 for the purposes described in this section. The building standards published in the California Building Standards Code and the other regulations adopted by the department shall apply to the construction of all permanent homeless shelter buildings, except in a homeless shelter in a local agency that has adopted and is enforcing a building code with amendments adopted pursuant to Section 17958.5 and which the local agency is the enforcement agency.

SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.