California Assembly passes innovative legislation to enable landlords and tenants to assist persons at risk of homelessness

Legislation is based on recommendations from Dr. Margot Kushel, a leading researcher on homelessness and recent recipient of $30 million grant from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff


Today, the California State Assembly voted 75 – 0 to pass Assembly Bill (AB) 1188, authored by Assembly member Jesse Gabriel (D – San Fernando Valley), which would make it easier for both landlords and tenants to allow persons at risk of homelessness to temporarily reside on their property.

AB 1188 was crafted based on recommendations from Dr. Margot Kushel, a leading researcher on homelessness at UC San Francisco (UCSF), who has identified temporary housing with family or friends as a critical tool to help prevent more Californians from becoming homeless. Dr. Kushel was tapped last week to lead a new initiative on homelessness at UCSF. This new project was made possible by a $30 million donation from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the largest-ever private donation to fund homelessness research. As part of this initiative, Dr. Kushel and her team will conduct research on the root causes of homelessness and identify evidence-based solutions to prevent and end homelessness.

After the vote, Assembly member Gabriel issued the following statement:

“One of the most important steps we can take to address our homelessness crisis is to protect those who are most at risk of falling into homelessness. AB 1188 will remove legal barriers and provide tenants with greater flexibility to assist friends or loved ones in a time of desperate need. I am grateful to Dr. Kushel and her team for their advice, and to my colleagues for the strong bipartisan support for this important measure.”

AB 1188 allows tenants and landlords to enter into an agreement under which the tenant can allow friends or relatives facing homelessness to temporarily live with them without fear of negative repercussions.  The bill also removes many of the legal barriers preventing tenants from assisting friends or loved ones in a time of desperate need, and provides a legal framework that will incentivize both landlords and tenants to assist persons at risk of homelessness.  While not intended to be a permanent solution, AB 1188 will provide vulnerable individuals with shelter and an opportunity to save resources and regroup while searching for more stable housing.

Dr. Margot Kushel, a practicing physician and researcher at UCSF, made the following remarks:

“As communities grapple with creating shelters and navigation centers, we should see housing with family as one solution to expand the options to get homeless individuals inside and stabilized, while they seek permanent housing.  And we should do it in a way that holds the families and dear friends who offer this important service harmless, so that they do not risk their own eviction (and homelessness) because they are willing to offer a helping hand to a loved one experiencing homelessness. We recognize that this will not solve homelessness; but believe that providing a means to formalize this arrangement thereby reducing the risk of eviction for families who host homeless loved ones is an important goal.”

AB 1188 will now head to the Senate, where it will be heard in policy committee.

Jesse Gabriel serves in the Assembly Leadership as Assistant Majority Whip. He represents the 45th Assembly District, which includes much of the west San Fernando Valley. Assembly member Gabriel currently serves on the Committees on Appropriations, Banking and Finance, Higher Education, Housing and Community Development, and Privacy and Consumer Protection.