During the final week of the current California legislative session, lawmakers from both sides of the isle came together and approved over a dozen laws that will positively impact affordable housing in California! Here is a run-down of many of the proposed laws from the California Legislative Tracking site:
SB 2, The Building Homes and Jobs Act: The bill will impose additional real estate filing fees o create the Building Homes and Jobs Fund. These State funds will be used to assist persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness (through the Department of Housing and Community Development), support affordable owner-occupied workforce housing, support affordable housing, home ownership opportunities, and other housing-related programs.
SB 3, Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018: If approved by the Governor, this will be placed on the November 2018 statewide general election. This bond act would authorize the issuance of $4Billion in bonds, $3Billion would finance existing, underfunded housing programs, and the remaining $1Billion would provide additional funding for home purchase assistance for veterans.
SB 35, Planning and Zoning changes: This bill creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for infill developments in localities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) numbers
SB 166, Residential density and affordability changes: This bill requires that a local jurisdiction accommodate its remaining unmet need at all times throughout the housing element planning period.
SB 167, Housing Accountability Act: A.K.A The Anti-NIMBY Act. This bill makes several changes to the Housing Accountability Act. Cities that do not approve a state-ordered development within 60 days will be assessed a minimum fine of $10,000 per housing unit. Any funds in a local housing trust fund not expended after five years would revert to the state and be utilized for financing newly constructed housing units affordable to extremely low, very low, or low-income households.
SB 540, Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone: This bill authorizes a city or county to establish a Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone (WHOZ) that will create appropriate housing near high-density employment, coupled with at least prevailing wage requirements.
AB 1193, Property tax: welfare exemption: low-income housing changes: Extends the timeframe that a low-income housing unit receives rent protection.
AB 1505, Land use: zoning regulations changes: This bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Community Development, beginning September 15th, 2027, to require all new residential developments to set aside more than 15% of the total number of units rented in the development be affordable to, and occupied by, households at 80% or less of the area median income.
AB 1521, Land use: notice of proposed change: assisted housing developments: This bill would require the owner of an assisted housing development to be more forthcoming about possible rent price protection expirations to new and existing renters.
AB 1598, Affordable housing authorities changes: Allows a city or county to create an affordable housing authority to fund affordable housing and affordable workforce housing, similar to a Community Revitalization and Investment Authority (CRIA).
Since the real estate bubble almost a decade ago, housing costs have continued to rise at unbelievable rates, causing already marginally housed persons to be in even greater jeopardy of losing their tenuous grip. Finally we may have some relief on the horizon. The very best way to help someone who is without housing, is to prevent them from losing their housing in the first place.
All of the above bills have been approved by the legislature and have been given to Governor Brown for signature. He has a very limited time to approve these bills, but seems poised to authorize them all. If you want to do your part to ensure that these essential bills become law, please contact Governor Brown!