California Legislature Sends Historic Housing Package to Governor’s Desk

Package Increases Accountability, Affordability, and Accessibility of Housing in California

Friday, September 15, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The California legislature today passed fifteen a package of fifteen consequential measures aimed at tackling the state’s housing crisis; a problem that has made California home to 21 of the 30 most expensive housing markets in the nation.

At a time when homeownership in California is at its lowest point since the 1940’s, the state Senate is moving policies to fund new development, streamline approval processes, strengthen existing laws, and create more local accountability to build new housing and increase homeownership across the Golden State. 

Over the next decade, California must produce an estimated 1.8 million new units of housing in order to meet the demands of projected population and household growth.  Focusing on the most vulnerable, like returning veterans and the homeless, Senate Democrats have proposed landmark measures to help those with the fewest options when it comes to housing. 

“The state Legislature won’t sit on the sidelines as California’s biggest crisis worsens day by day,” said Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).  “This package of bills -- including my bill SB 2, which creates a badly needed permanent source of funding for affordable housing – will deliver relief to many residents who are struggling under the weight of housing instability, bring people experiencing homelessness in off the streets, and spur production of homes for people of all income levels in communities throughout the state. I am grateful to President pro Tem de León, Speaker Rendon, and Governor Brown for their support, as well as countless others who are working hard push these crucial bills forward.”

Senate Bill 3’s proposed $4 billion bond measure can serve as the catalyst to kick start the affordable housing construction our state needs. SB 3 working together with the Senate’s comprehensive housing package will provide a giant boost to our communities and regional economies,” said Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose). “The bills combined will produce over 70,000 new affordable housing units and create nearly 137,000 jobs. California’s hard-working families, millennials, seniors and vets will greatly benefit from this influx of new homes and apartments. Now is the time to get these housing bills passed – California needs them!’’

“This legislative package is a significant step forward in addressing California’s housing shortage,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of SB 35. “The package doesn't solve our housing problems entirely - that will take years of sustained focus and work - but it's a very healthy down payment that should make us proud.  California's high housing costs are strangling our state's economy and environment, undermining our health and quality of life. We're past the point where communities can choose whether to create housing or whether to opt out. All communities need to participate in creating the housing we so desperately need. SB 35 holds local communities accountable by streamlining housing approvals in cities that aren’t meeting their state-mandated housing goals. We also need funding to create housing for our low-income residents, and I’m proud to co-author SB 2 with Senator Atkins and SB 3 with Senator Beall. I want to thank Governor Brown, Senate Pro Tem de León and Speaker Rendon, for working with us to put this package together.”

Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside), author of SB 540 said, “Access to housing is a basic human need, yet California is home to one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, and many Californians are unable to afford or rent a home.  That’s why I am proud to author Senate Bill 540, a commonsense measure which will incentivize and streamline housing construction to help solve our state’s dire housing shortage.

“The goals of SB 167 and SB 166 are to remove barriers to housing construction and increase housing development across all affordability levels,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “Strengthening existing law is central to meeting those goals and to combat our housing crisis.”

Senator Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) co-authored Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s (D-Santa Monica) AB 1505, which restores local governments’ ability to increase the supply of affordable housing units in cities across California.

In addition to these Senate bills, the legislature also sent nine Assembly bills to the Governor’s desk.  AB 72, authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), gives the state the authority to enforce California housing element laws.  AB 73, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), will streamline and incentivize housing production at the local level. AB 678, by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-San Fernando), strengthens housing accountability.  AB 571, authored by Assemblymember Eduardo Garica (D-Coachella), will provide more low-income housing for farmworkers across the state. AB 879, by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord), requires local governments to collect information on the nongovernmental hurdles to housing development.  AB 1397, by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), strengthens local housing planning laws.  AB 1515, by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), strengthens California’s housing accountability laws.  AB 1521, authored by Assemblymember Bloom, will preserve existing affordable housing stock.

Learn more about the Senate’s plan to address California’s housing crisis here.

Learn more about the scale and impacts of California’s housing crisis here.