Licensing and Industry Updates

Two days before Christmas 2022, the Biden Administration released its “final public charge rule,” which removes barriers to accessing public benefits for most immigrants, meaning immigration officials cannot restrict immigrants access to “public benefits” before determination of right of entry into the U.S. Anyone who enters the U.S., legally or illegally, may be eligible to receive welfare benefits. Those benefits include free food and food stamps, job finding assistance, and school meals for children. Persons seeking assistance are eligible for translation services and interpreters. Shelters are not allowed to ask for identification when housing individuals seeking housing. If persons have been illegally living in the U.S., they would be eligible for state and federal disaster assistance if their dwelling has been damaged during an emergency. This includes state supplemental income and federal assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Families affected by an emergency are also eligible for Medi-Cal and unemployment benefits.
 
AB 68, introduced by Chris Ward-D, San Diego, addressed “housing.” Although this bill is to make minor changes in Government Code 65582, it actually will create new definitions including “frequent user coordinated care housing services.” This is not a minor change it will create a new definition that will be used in future changes to California laws. The frequent user definition means “housing combined with other supportive services for homeless persons.” The housing and supportive services is part of the CalAIM program that took effect last year. “Target population” for the program are people with “mental illness, HIV or AIDS, substance abuse…individuals exiting institutional settings…and homeless people.” This is wording so similar to the CalAIM program.
 
SB 37, introduced by Anna Caballero-D, Merced and Salinas, is proposed to assist Californians with housing options including changing the age limitations for “senior housing.” The legislative analyst wrote: “…the intent of the Legislature to subsequently amend this bill to include provisions than would enact meaningful tenancy reform to ensure that aging adults can remain safely housed.” The language, thus far, in the proposed bill address “adults 55 years of age and older…who are experiencing homelessness.” The bill also states California’s poverty rate for adults 65 and older is the highest group identified in the California Poverty Measure. That would be the SSI population. The bill states, “California’s high cost of living, coupled with even a slight change in an older adult’s monthly expenses can result in an inability to make basic financial obligations, including their monthly rent. In order to protect older adults who are especially vulnerable to experiencing homelessness, it is the intent of the Legislature to subsequently amend this measure to include provisions that would enact meaningful tenancy reform to ensure that aging adults can remain safely housed.”
 
As part of the master plan and other fiscal agendas from California, six prisons in the state will cease operations. Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, is targeted for closure in two years. It is believed the local economy will be severely impacted as 45% of the local population is involved with the prison. The California Correctional Center in Lassen County will be closed in approximately one year. The state leases the prison at a cost of $32 million per year. Folsom Women’s Facility will be deactivated in January 2023; the West Facility in California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County will be closed in late 2023; Facility C in Pelican Bay State Prison (Crescent City) will be closed in the winter 2023; Facility A in the California Rehabilitation Center (Norco) will be closed in spring 2023; Facility D in the California Institution for Men in Chino, also slated to close in spring 2023; and Facility D in California Correctional Institution, Tehachapi, will be shut down this summer. Although press information claims prisoners and employees will be moved elsewhere, that, too, would create overcrowding in other prisons and high expenses for prison management. It is just not adding up.