September 12, 2019


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SACRAMENTO-As California’s unhoused population increases, Senate Bill 329 would level the playing field for renters who need the most assistance. With rising rent, lack of affordable housing, this bill protects Californians who use housing vouchers from discrimination by landlords.


“…the original purpose of housing vouchers was to move people away from areas with high concentrations of poverty to areas with greater opportunities,” said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, who authored SB 329.


Sen. Mitchell made these comments April 30, 2019, during a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the measure 7-2. The bill passed out of the Assembly and is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting a signature.


“Let’s make it clear that we not discriminate against people because they are poor, that money is money, the check will get cashed and you will get paid, but what you will have to do is listen to everyone and give everyone a fair shot.”


SB 329, The “Housing and Opportunities Act,” doesn’t force landlords to rent to everyone with a voucher; it merely asks for recipients to be treated the same way as any potential tenant. Landlords can screen rental history and check credit, but cannot disqualify or discriminate against potential tenants based on the source of income. 


This renter-protection bill would help California address its growing homelessness crisis, provide an opportunity to families in poverty, and help ensure the state can take full advantage of available federal funding. 


There will not be an increase in the amount of vouchers distributed but SB 329 aims to keep the most vulnerable off the streets.


“If CalFresh recipients were denied food we would cry foul,” Senator Mitchell said, “This bill gives families a chance without being turned away at every door and forced to return their assistance unused.”



 Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Committee. She represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles. More information about Sen. Mitchell can be found at https://sd30.senate.ca.gov