Senator Durazo Responds to Governor Newsom Signing SB 51 to Create More Affordable Housing & Pathways to Home Ownership in El Sereno

Saturday, July 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES – In response to Governor Gavin Newsom signing SB 51 on Friday, Senator Durazo issued the following statement:
 
“Thank you Governor Newsom for signing SB 51 into law. Current residents of State-owned properties managed by Caltrans will now have an opportunity for affordable home ownership or continued renting under a responsible affordable housing property manager. The entire neighborhood, city, and state will benefit from repairing empty homes and converting vacant lots into high quality affordable housing. The blight and poor property management of Caltrans-owned properties is ending in El Sereno.”
 
Senator Durazo and co-author Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 51 to bring more long-term affordable housing to El Sereno and to develop an immediate long-overdue solution for Caltrans-managed residential properties there. In the midst of the worst housing crisis in our state's history, it is unconscionable that some houses have been sitting vacant and in disrepair for years, and SB51 will end that.
 
Specifically, SB 51: (1) secures the sale of the State-owned houses to low-to-moderate income tenants or converts them into long-term affordable rentals if the tenants are not interested or able to buy the house; (2) facilitates the repair of existing units; and (3) gets Caltrans out of the business of renting residential properties in El Sereno.
 
If the property is unoccupied or the current tenant is unable or uninterested in purchasing the property, the bill will then allow for the sale of these State-owned properties to qualified Housing Related Entities including local public and qualified private housing entities, like a housing authority or housing non-profit at the Agency’s original purchase price in exchange for a guarantee of providing 55 years of affordable and moderate-income housing. Additionally, vacant properties will have first priority in becoming affordable housing.
 
This bill was developed after hundreds of conversations and meetings with individual residents, community leaders, housing advocates, tenants of Caltrans properties, Caltrans officials, LA City Housing officials, LA County officials and technical assistance from the Administration over several years.