BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. — With tent cities and RV camps continuing to populate neighborhoods throughout California, State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, introduced a new bill to prevent homelessness Friday.

SB 567 seeks to stop workers, families and seniors from losing their homes by strengthening the state’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019.

“Too many tenants are facing unjust evictions because of loopholes in existing law and because rents are rising at a rate working-class Californians simply cannot afford,” Durazo said in a statement. “Homelessness is an issue that is impacting every Californian in one way or another, and we must prevent more families from losing their homes.”

California has the largest homeless population in the country. Over 161,000 people lack shelter in the state.

California alone accounted for 30% of the nation’s homeless population last year, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Homelessness Prevention Act of 2023 builds on the California Tenant Protection Act, first enacted in Jan. 2020, which limits annual rent increases to 5% plus the local inflation rate or 10% — whichever is lower.

If passed, the Homelessness Prevention Act would lower those rent increase caps and help families return to their homes after no-fault evictions by broadening tenant protections to renters in mobile and single-family homes.

“The affordable housing crisis is one of the mot imminent threats to California’s future,” Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Executive Director Christina Livingston said in a statement. “Without bold action to protect families from unscrupulous rent hikes and unjust evictions, we risk a future where eventually more families live outside of buildings than in them.”