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New Study Details Depth of California’s Affordable Home Crisis

FEBRUARY 11, 2014 | SACRAMENTO, CA – Today the California Housing Partnership Corporation released a report that shows California’s private housing market is not providing an adequate number of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income households and calls on California’s legislators to take immediate action to meet the housing needs of California’s lowest-income residents. Contrary to common belief, the study “How California’s Housing Market Is Failing to Meet the Needs of Low-Income Families,” finds that the housing bubble burst and the ensuing foreclosure crisis have not made housing more affordable to lower-income households. In fact, rents were higher in 2012 than they were at the height of the housing boom in 2006 in nearly all metro areas. One million low-income households in California do not have access to an affordable home, and not one county or legislative district in the state has an adequate supply of homes affordable to extremely low-income households, those earning 30 percent or less of their metro area’s median household income.

More than fifty percent of extremely low-income households are elderly or disabled and living on a fixed income. In the past five years, 79 percent of state and federal investment in affordable homes has disappeared. The elimination of Redevelopment funding in 2012 and the exhaustion of state housing bonds funded by Propositions 46 and 1C, has meant the loss of more than $1 billion per year in state investment that is critical to spur the production and preservation of affordable homes. Combined with reductions in federal funds, investment in affordable homes in California has been reduced by more than $1.5 billion annually.

The California Housing Partnership calls on state leaders to implement policies in three key areas:

1. Replace exhausted state housing bonds by passing the Homes and Jobs Act (SB 391) and by making an immediate general fund investment to the state’s existing rental housing production program.

2. Strengthen local jurisdictions’ tools for building and preserving affordable homes by taking three important steps:

a. Lower the threshold for voter approval of local infrastructure measures, including affordable homes, to 55 percent, as it is with education bonds;

b. create a new tax increment financing mechanism that gives local governments the ability to fund the development of basic infrastructure including transportation, housing and parks; and c. allow local jurisdictions to require the inclusion of a percentage of affordable homes in new developments.

3. Invest a significant portion of Cap-and-Trade revenues in affordable transit-oriented homes and energy efficiency retrofits to existing multifamily affordable housing. The California Homes and Jobs Act (SB 391) is a particularly important piece of the solution to our state’s affordable-home crisis. SB 391 will dedicate investment to public-private partnerships that will build 10,000 safe and affordable single-family homes and apartments each year for Californians in need, including families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities; reduce homelessness; and result in significant savings to taxpayers.