Gress bill would reform homelessness policies, attempt to break link to drug use and crime

New legislation by state Rep. Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) proposes several policy changes to address the challenge of homelessness facing the state, including attempting to break the link between homelessness and drug use.

HB 2782 proposes:

  • Implementing stricter penalties for drug traffickers operating within drug-free service zones.
  • Holding facilities accountable for permitting on-campus drug activities by imposing charges.
  • Establishing a $75 million permanent fund dedicated to Homeless Shelter and Services.
  • Modifying funding allocations for homeless service providers contingent upon meeting performance benchmarks.
  • Highlighting the necessity and significance of accurately collecting health and demographic data on the state’s homeless demographic.

“This legislation is an important step towards reducing chronic homelessness and drug-related

crime, ensuring that Arizona’s vulnerable populations are effectively supported while ensuring

public safety,” Gress said. “Establishing accountability within homeless service

zones will help safeguard our communities from drug-related crime and offer a more structured

and supportive environment for our homeless population to rebuild their lives.”

Money in the proposed Homeless Shelter and Services Fund could be used for short-term shelter and transitional housing, and non-profit organizations and cities could acquire entire hotels for shelter purposes.

But the bill requires hoteliers to inform paying guests if that hotel is also housing the homeless by posting a sign at the reception desk that says: “This business is being used to house homeless individuals alongside the general public. It is recommended that all guests keep hotel doors locked, safely store their belongings and report any health or safety concerns to local law enforcement.”

The bill also lays out the required size of the sign and typeface. 

The bill would bar state or local dollars to be used for “mixed hoteling,” which refers to providing temporary lodging to homeless individuals while also providing regular hotel services to the general public.  

The Legislature last year passed a bill by Gress that would have prevented the state and local governments from mandating hoteliers to house individuals experiencing homelessness in exchange for a housing voucher. That bill was vetoed by the governor. 

This year’s bill has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee, but it is not on this week’s meeting agenda. The bill would have to be heard in next week’s meeting, the last for the committee to consider bills introduced in the House.

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.