It’s not news that our state has an affordable housing crisis. The California Housing Partnership has consistently documented the shortage of affordable homes in every county of the state and shown that the gap has grown each year. Californians feel the impacts directly, for ourselves, our families, and the people in our communities.
It’s also no mystery how we got here. When the state stopped investing in affordable housing for our communities, the problems were exacerbated exponentially. There is the $9 billion in state funding for affordable housing Californians have lost since the Governor and the Legislature eliminated Redevelopment funding in 2011. Coupled with the fact that the state has not invested in new housing bonds since 2006, is it any wonder that our housing crisis has gotten worse each year since then?
We need state support to produce housing affordable to the people who make our economy go: preschool teachers who take care of our kids, baristas who serve us coffee, clerks in the stores where we shop and the janitors who keep our buildings clean. The Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 (Senate Bill 3), now pending approval in the Legislature as part of the affordable housing package promised in July by the Governor and Legislative leaders, would do just that.
If SB3 is approved by the Legislature and Governor now and by voters in November 2018, the state will invest $3 billion to develop new affordable homes. As our recent report showed, that investment will result in 50,000 new and rehabilitated affordable homes, the creation of 137,000 jobs, and more than $1 billion in new local revenues.
Voters not only support this effort, but a recent poll showed that a strong majority of Californians are ready to triple the proposed bond investment to $9 billion. An investment of that size would fund 150,000 new affordable homes while creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and billions in new local economic development. Lawmakers are now looking into updating SB3 to more closely meet our communities’ needs and support the voters’ will.
Californians are tired of waiting for affordable homes. Let’s tell our state leaders we want the chance to vote on a $9 billion bond to make a real downpayment towards solving the housing crisis for the people who help make our economy go. We have proven, successful models in front of us – now let’s fund them and invest in our communities.