Assemblymember O’Donnell unveils legislation to create accountability for cities and counties amid homelessness crisis

Creates annual report card and empowers neighboring jurisdictions to sue each another if one community is not doing its part

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) has introduced an aggressive pair of bills that will seek to address the homelessness crisis. AB 2630 will require every city and county to submit a standardized “report card” detailing specific information as to its efforts to address the homelessness crisis. A second bill, AB 2631, will allow cities and counties to go to court to take action if nearby jurisdictions are not doing their part to address the homelessness crisis.

The two legislative efforts will collectively be called the Homelessness Accountability Now Act, and will attach hard data and results to the unprecedented tax-payer money the state has given local governments to address the crisis.

“The Governor and the Legislature have committed billions of dollars to fight homelessness and we are poised to spend billions more, but what are Californians getting for this money?” asked O’Donnell. “More and more, the public is wondering why the problem doesn’t seem to be improving and, in some cases, the homeless crisis appears to be getting worse. Local governments ask for more money every year from the state, but I want to link more progress with more dollars. The era of local government just sticking out a hand for more money is over.”

AB 2630 would require all cities and counties to submit a report annually to the California Interagency Council on Homelessness providing detailed critical information on local work to combat homelessness. This mandate would apply to all cities (including charter cities) and counties.

The second bill, AB 2631, would allow cities and counties to sue one another if a neighboring jurisdiction’s failure to effectively address this crisis results in another community being negatively impacted.

“These two bills are a one-two punch. It has the potential to be some of the most impactful legislation because it is focused on transparency, results, and accountability,” said O’Donnell. “Cities and counties are more than willing to use public funding for programs to fight homelessness, but does that money really help get our fellow Californians off the streets and into safe shelters? We need to have those answers.”

Over the last three years, California has committed more than $13 billion to address homelessness.

Recent data on homelessness shows 161,000 people in California are unhoused. This represents a 7 percent increase from 2019 to 2020 according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“It is time for cities and counties to come clean and show us their real results. We all want to see people getting the shelter and services they need and deserve. Until we have real transparency and accountability, there is no way of knowing if these funds are being spent effectively,” O’Donnell said.

AB 2630 and 2631 are expected to receive hearings in a policy committee in the coming weeks.

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Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell represents the 70th Assembly District, which includes Long Beach, Signal Hill, San Pedro and Catalina Island.