Irvine, CA – The Building Industry Association of Southern California, (BIASC) is a non-profit trade association of over 1,000 member companies employing over 100,000 professionals in the home building industry. Entering their centennial year, BIASC has introduced a Veterans Housing Policy Framework featuring key reforms needed to expand housing opportunities for those that have served to protect our country. Specifically, BIASC supports the following key legislation and reforms:
- Assembly Bill 1474 (Reyes)
- AB 1474 requires that the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) consider and incorporate the housing needs of veterans into the statewide housing plan and requires that HCD consult with the State Department of Veterans Affairs when developing the plan.
As noted by the author, over the past decade, veteran homelessness has decreased in the United States and in California. However, California continues to have the highest population of homeless veterans in the country. Approximately 31 percent of the nation’s homeless veterans are located in California. According to the 2022 point-in-time-count, 10,395 veterans in California were homeless.
- Assembly Bill 1386 (Gabriel)
- Ensures available beds for homeless veterans do not go empty. This bill would allow the State Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP) program to expand its housing resources to veterans who do not typically qualify for the existing program while first ensuring that lower-income veterans are prioritized. Through removing this administrative barrier, AB 1386 seeks to maximize the impact of existing services and programs by decreasing vacancy rates, helping to reduce the population of homeless Veterans.
For too long, tens of thousands of our brave veterans and their families have struggled to find quality housing options they can afford in the Golden State,” said BIASC CEO Jeff Montejano. “BIASC looks forward to collaborating with veteran organizations to support their priorities which will continue to guide and inform our policy platform.”
BIASC leadership are on the front lines of pursuing this effort. “I’m proud of the commitment by BIASC to the noble cause of helping our veterans,” said BIASC LA-Ventura Board Member Donna Deutchman, President and CEO of Homes 4 Families. “Our veterans are struggling across the entire spectrum of housing – from chronic homelessness, limited access to low-income housing, to declining home ownership opportunities – we can and must do better.”
Other key reforms of the BIASC Veterans Policy Platform include:
- Improving the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers which have been plagued by poor utilization rates.
- Pursue federal support to fund a flexible transitional housing assistance program for veterans, available for a two-year period after the veteran exists military service to assist with housing stabilization.
- Continued Funding of California’s CalVet Program & Reforms to VA Loans
- Enhance Access to Social Supportive Services financial literacy training, first time homebuyer education, home maintenance courses, career-building and leadership opportunities, and Veteran Mentorship.
- Support local construction training programs to provide veterans with the skills needed to pursue a career in home construction.
- Affordable & Permanent Supportive Housing Projects that include a 10% veterans residency application consideration should receive the same CEQA streamline exemptions granted to professional sports stadiums and arenas.
Additionally, BIASC will continue to support veteran outreach programs and engage in workforce development efforts. For example, the Builders for Better Communities Foundation will look forward to sponsoring the upcoming 25th Annual Tribute to Veterans and Military Families on May 27th. Hosted by LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the event will also provide an opportunity to thank our veterans, service members, and their loved ones for their commitment to a lifetime of service. Through this event, we are eager to support efforts to equip attendees with access to programs, services, and benefits.
“We commend BIASC for their commitment to helping our veterans,” said Charles Helget, Executive Director of the California Association of Veterans Service Agencies. “They are a trusted voice on housing and will only strengthen our efforts.”
“Housing is such a critical issue of concern for our veterans and we appreciate the efforts by BIASC to work with us on their behalf,” said Stephen Peck, President, CEO, US Vets.
To read BIASC’s Veteran Housing Policy Framework A Pathway to Prosperity for Veterans, please click here.
The Building Industry Association of Southern California is the voice of the region’s building industry, with four chapters offering localized services to building professionals from Ventura to the southern tip of Orange County. Throughout its 100-year history, the association has served its builder and associate members by anticipating, protecting, and promoting their common interests through its many programs, services, councils and committees. For more information on the Building Industry Association of Southern California, visit biasc.org.