FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 25, 2022
Erin Ivie, Communications Director
firstname.lastname@example.org / 510-619-8495
Asm. Wicks Introduces Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOPE) Act
ACA 14 would establish dedicated, long-term funding for solutions to housing and homelessness crisis
SACRAMENTO — On Friday, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks introduced the Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOPE) Act, a constitutional amendment establishing a long-term funding stream dedicated to solving California’s housing and homelessness crisis.
The HOPE Act (ACA 14) will institute a ten-year funding commitment in the California Constitution that dedicates five percent from the state’s general fund (each year for the next decade) to the state’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Investments will be based on a funding strategy with specific accountability metrics to measure outcomes and progress.
“Homelessness is the moral crisis of our time, and solving it is our moral imperative,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. “California voters consistently rank housing and homelessness as the number one issue we need to resolve, and Governor Newsom has demonstrated unprecedented leadership in responding to this call. Now, it’s our turn in the Legislature to take bold and ongoing action to commit the resources needed to solve these twin issues.”
Based on the 2022 budget revenues of $200 billion, the investment from the general fund would be approximately $10 billion each year. This constitutional modification explicitly protects existing constitutional budget commitments, including funding for schools and the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
Additionally, the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency would be required to develop a ten-year investment strategy with outcome metrics to ensure that funding results in reduced homelessness and creates more affordable housing.
As of January 2020 – prior to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – an estimated 161,548 people experienced homelessness on any given day. Low income residents are severely cost burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs in many parts of the state, and one small financial setback can push these individuals and families into homelessness. Recent data suggests that 2.2 million extremely low income and very low income renter households are competing for 664,000 affordable rental units. Meanwhile, the private market does not provide enough low-income housing to meet the demand.
Over the last five years, California has invested incrementally more general fund dollars each year to finance affordable housing production and fund homelessness solutions. Although these investments are significant, they are one-time investments and do not allow the state or local governments to respond to the crisis and achieve measurable progress.
With the Administration and Legislature taking steps to address this urgent issue, California must create an ongoing funding source tied to an investment strategy to end homelessness and produce more affordable housing.
Included below are statements supportive of the HOPE Act from California electeds and housing organizations:
California Assemblymembers/HOPE Act Co-authors:
“Our budget reflects our values. Californians value increasing the stock of affordable housing. We have not consistently budgeted enough to play our part in addressing the affordable housing crisis,” said Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-Ventura). “The solution is to build more truly affordable housing and ensure it permanently stays affordable. This requires both steady construction and rental assistance funding. I would like to thank Assemblymember Wicks for championing this effort to increase the stock of affordable housing in California.”
“ACA 14 is a necessary effort to provide an ongoing funding stream to end homelessness and create affordable housing,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 4. “It builds on the historic investments California has made in recent years in addressing homelessness and much needed affordable housing that would create continuity for local cities and continuums of care to properly plan and do the work needed without disruption. Californians across the state want to see solutions, this is a step in the right direction.”
“California’s gargantuan homelessness crisis is the worst in the nation, as we lead in both the number of unhoused residents and the highest proportion of persons living on the streets,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley). “For years, I’ve sounded the alarm that this problem is only going to worsen if we do not address both the lack of affordable housing in our state and help our unhoused population get off the streets. That’s why I am proud to say that I am co-author of ACA 14, the Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOPE) Act to make critical investments into affordable housing and solutions to homelessness. I want to thank Assemblymember Buffy Wicks for her leadership on this constitutional amendment and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature on this issue.”
Big City Mayors:
“I applaud Assembly Member and Housing Chair Wicks for proposing to dedicate a funding stream to address California’s most heartbreaking challenges – homelessness and the lack of affordable housing,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland. “Our families and our unhoused neighbors desperately need a statewide commitment to provide resources to make housing and services available to them, and ACA 14 makes that commitment for a decade, allowing local and state agencies to invest in creative and long-term solutions without raising taxes.”
“I consistently decline to support budgetary carve-outs, but the magnitude of the twin crises of homelessness and housing affordability compels decisive and extraordinary action,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose. “Mayors throughout California have repeatedly marched to the Capitol to urge the provision of a stable, sustainable source of funding, and with this measure Assemblymember Wicks has stepped up to the challenge. We stand with her.”
“According to year-to-date data, the median sales price of a home in Riverside is up 26% while the number of new listings has steadily declined and is currently at an all-time low. This is squeezing more and more Riversiders and would-be homeowners out of the market,” said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, City of Riverside. “Unfortunately, this has been a trend for cities throughout the state. In order to reverse this trend, we must implement policies that will have an immediate impact on increasing the housing supply. ACA 14 is a step in the right direction because of the long-term funding stream to cover the time it will take to increase available housing that is affordable to first-time buyers.”
“The pandemic has shown us all the essential role affordable housing plays in every part of California—providing shelter, support, and community to some of the state’s most vulnerable groups,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium. “The Governor and Legislature have demonstrated their commitment to affordable housing time after time in recent years, using budget surpluses to support some of our state’s most effective housing programs with much-needed, one-time investments. This bill will build on these efforts—and provide a permanent, ongoing source of funding at the scale needed to close our state’s shameful gaps in affordable housing. This is an idea whose time has come. Affordable housing providers are ready to put these resources to work to build more of the affordable housing Californians need.”
“California’s Roadmap Home 2030 calls on state leaders to be bold and invest at scale in order to end homelessness and tackle our housing affordability challenges,” said Matt Schwartz, President and CEO of the California Housing Partnership. “Buffy Wicks’ HOPE Act is exactly the kind of leadership that is needed to help make the Roadmap Home a reality.”
“The scale of our homelessness crisis in California calls for a source of funding at the scale envisioned in ACA 14,” said Sharon Rapport, Director, California State Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing. “With over 161,000 Californians unhoused on any given night, CSH, as a leader in homeless policy, stands ready to work with Assemblymember Wicks to pass this important amendment. CSH, along with local leaders, other policy experts, and people with experience of homelessness have all been calling for dedicated, ongoing funding, and we are thrilled to see this bold action by Assemblymember Wicks to combat homelessness.”
“This historic ACA 14, also known as The Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOPE) Act, is a first-of-its kind long-term commitment to address the issues Californians continuously raise as their top priority: housing affordability and homelessness,” said Christopher Martin, Policy Director, Housing California. “Much like education resources, ACA 14 will continuously commit five percent of our State’s general fund to build more affordable housing, create homeownership opportunities, and reduce homelessness. Aligned with the Roadmap Home 2030, ACA 14 requires a 10-year strategic investment plan to help unhoused Californians off the streets and creates more affordable homes. Housing California is proud to support ACA 14 and we applaud Asm. Wicks for her commitment to championing this legislation, which has the potential to truly transform our State’s approach while making a long term positive impact on the lives of Californians.”
Group Statement, Bring California Home Coalition: “On behalf of the Bring California Home Coalition, a diverse coalition of homeless advocates, local leaders, and housing and service providers, we urge support for Assembly Constitutional Amendment 14. As a coalition, we were formed around the urgent need for a statewide approach to solving homelessness, along with a dedicated source of funding, rather than California’s current approach of uncertain funding, year by year. To that end, we are thrilled to see a commitment for homelessness and housing funding over 10 years in ACA 14. We stand ready to work with Asm. Wicks to take this bold step to truly, once and for all, reverse the cycle of homelessness in California.”
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About Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks represents California’s 15th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, and Piedmont. You can learn more about Assemblymember Wicks at http://a15.asmdc.org.