San Diego Housing Federation Says Important Affordable Housing Bills Pass State Assembly

June 5, 2015

San Diego Housing Federation Says Important Affordable Housing Bills Pass State Assembly

Organization thanks San Diego’s representatives for leadership role in yesterday’s vote

SAN DIEGO – Yesterday, California assemblymembers passed important legislation that would begin to restore crucial state investment in affordable home construction and create jobs. San Diego Housing Federation says it is pleased to see this bipartisan progress for affordable housing. The passed package of bills that will tackle California’s growing housing affordability crisis include AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins), AB 90 (Chau), AB 1056 (Atkins)—championed by Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego).

With these bills garnering near-unanimous support statewide, the Housing Federation appreciates the support from our entire San Diego legislative delegation to support these initiatives that could help provide some of the 127,930 affordable homes needed for San Diegans earning low- and extremely-low incomes.

“Access to affordable homes is critical to everyone in our community,” says Reznik. “This legislative package has brought together diverse groups like social justice and environmental advocates, business and organized labor, veterans, seniors, the LGBT community and people with disabilities.”

When housing costs are taken into account, nearly one in four Californians lives below the poverty line, the highest poverty rate in the nation. State investment in affordable home development has plummeted from $1.5 billion annually in 2007 to nearly zero due to the loss of redevelopment funds, while the shortage of affordable places to live has reached crisis level. Currently, California’s families suffer from a shortfall of 1.5 million affordable homes, driving rents sky-high across the state and impeding California’s businesses’ ability to compete for talent. Research from the California Housing Partnership shows that housing costs are driving California’s poverty levels higher.

San Diego Housing Federation calls the bills “a step in the right direction” and hopes to see the centerpiece of the Building Homes and Jobs Act package, AB 1335 (Atkins), passing the Assembly next as San Diego is considered one of the most expensive cities to live in. “Right now in San Diego the annual income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $55,600, meaning a minimum wage worker would have to work 119 hours per week — or three full-time jobs — just to pay the rent,” notes San Diego Housing Federation Executive Director Bruce Reznik.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ complete package of affordable homes legislation, including AB 1335, will generate billions of dollars in federal and private investment in California annually and create tens of thousands of affordable homes each year.  With current public investment hitting a historic low, Speaker Atkins’ package of bills would begin to replace the $1.5 billion in state affordable home financing lost as redevelopment was eliminated and voter-approved bonds from Props. 46 and 1C have been extinguished.  State seed money opens the door to billions of federal and private dollars invested in California affordable homes and jobs, so shovel-ready projects can move forward.

AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins) would increase the percentage of funding a nonprofit developer could use from state tax credits from the current 13% to 50%. It will also help remove the biggest barrier to starting construction on shovel-ready affordable home developments by expanding the successful State Housing Tax Credit by $300 million annually. This in turn would enable affordable home developers to access an additional $600 million in federal funds.

AB 90 (Chau) creates a framework for how California will spend funds received from the National Housing Trust Fund, which (with the recent lift of the suspension that prevented funding of the trust fund) are expected to begin flowing to California in 2016.

AB 1056 (Atkins) targets 33 percent of the budget savings under Proposition 47 for use in a Rapid Re-housing Program aimed at helping house formerly incarcerated persons who suffer from mental health or substance use issues.

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ABOUT SAN DIEGO HOUSING FEDERATION

The San Diego Housing Federation is a broad coalition of organizations and advocates that work to ensure all San Diegans, regardless of income, have access to a safe, stable and affordable place they can call home.