Assemblymember David Chiu Speaks at Governor Brown Signing of Historic Affordable Housing Legislation

Assemblymember David Chiu, Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, today issued the following statement after Governor Brown signed a historic set of housing bills to address the affordable housing crisis in California. Since joining the Assembly in 2014, Assemblymember Chiu has made the rising cost of housing his top legislative priority. He is the lead author of Assembly Bill 73, which will incentivize local governments to plan for and permit housing, and a principal co-author or joint author of many of the other signed bills, including Senate Bills 2 and 3, and Assembly Bills 72 and 1505.  

“Every Californian deserves a safe, affordable home. But today, we are living through the worst housing crisis in the state’s history, which threatens our shared prosperity, deepens inequality and increases homelessness. 

Today, we are making a down payment for our children’s future, for people struggling to pay the rent or the mortgage or even to have a roof at all, and for our teachers and firefighters who can’t afford a home in the cities they serve.

I want to thank Governor Brown for his leadership, and for collaborating with the legislature on developing and signing this innovative package of bills that increase funding, and incentivize and streamline housing creation.

The bills he signed today address many of the underlying causes of the housing crisis, but we must continue to take on the complex issues surrounding the housing affordability crisis including incentivizing housing as much as commercial development, helping local communities build infrastructure to support housing, and preventing displacement while protecting vulnerable tenants.

Having worked on solutions to the housing crisis since I first came to Sacramento and seeing limited progress, I am deeply appreciative of Speaker Anthony Rendon and his staff for prioritizing this challenge, which is at the root of the rising inequality so many of us abhor. Senator Toni Atkins has carried the housing torch and the fight for a permanent source of funding for so long, and I have always been inspired by her example. My San Francisco friend and colleague Senator Scott Wiener displayed his passion and tenacity with SB 35, and Assemblymember Richard Bloom showed incredible leadership on AB 1505, the long-awaited “Palmer fix” for inclusionary housing. 

The other leaders of our informal ‘housing caucus’ - Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Anna Caballero, Todd Gloria, and Ash Kalra - were also indispensable partners. Governor Brown and his incredible team put in the hard work of crafting a full package of bills, and his personal engagement helped put the votes over the line. Finally, the dedicated housing advocates in Sacramento and around the state show every day how much they care about everyone we are trying to help. I know we will all keep working together to bring California home.”

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Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco. Learn more at https://a17.asmdc.org/

Bills in Housing Package

SB 2 (Atkins) Establishes the Building Homes and Jobs Act (Act) and imposes a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents, excluding commercial and residential real-estate sales, to provide a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

SB 3 (Beall) Authorizes $3 billion general obligation bond for existing affordable housing programs, including multifamily rental and homeownership.   This bill would be put before the voters on the November 2018 ballot.

SB 35 (Weiner) Creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for infill developments in localities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs assessment numbers.  Localities that fail to meet above moderate income unit construction must have a 10% inclusionary requirement, and localities that fail to meet their lower-income unit construction must have a 50% inclusionary requirement. 

AB 73 (Chiu) Incentivizes local governments to zone at high densities around transit and complete upfront environmental review on the sites.  The state would provide an incentive payment once zoning and environmental review is complete and a second payment once building permits are issued for housing units on the sites.  Sites in the zoned area would not be subject to additional CEQA review.

AB 1505 (Bloom and Chiu) Authorizes the legislative body of a city or county to establish inclusionary housing requirements as a condition of the development of residential rental units.  This legislation will restore an important tool that cities can use to increase the supply of affordable housing units.

AB 1521 (Bloom and Chiu) Strengthens the law regarding the preservation of assisted housing developments by requiring an owner of an assisted housing development to accept a bona fide offer to purchase from a qualified purchaser, if specified requirements are met, and by giving HCD additional enforcement authority.         

AB 72 (Santiago and Chiu) Gives the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) authority to find a housing element out of compliance if a city's action or failure to take action, including down zoning sites, is inconsistent with state housing element law.  The bill would also give HCD authority to refer a violation of existing state housing laws to the Attorney General for action. 

SB 166 (Skinner) Requires locals to ensure they are adequately accommodating for its unmet housing needs throughout the housing element planning period.  For example, if a city were to zone residential but then build commercial in that zone, this bill would require the city to go back and identify additional sites to accommodate its housing needs. 

SB 167 (Skinner) Increases the burden on local jurisdictions when denying an affordable housing project, would impose fines for a violation of the  Housing Accountability Act (the Act), expand judicial remedies for violations of the Act, and permits attorney’s fees for organizations that bring a successful lawsuit.  (same as AB 678 (Bocanegra)]

SB 540 (Roth) Allows local jurisdictions to create WHOZ (similar to a specific plan), which must contain a specified amount of affordable housing, with an inclusionary requirement.  The establishment of the WHOZ would require an initial environmental review process, however no project level environmental review will be required for the subsequent 5 years. 

AB 571 (E. Garcia) Makes several changes to the state’s tax credit for to fund farmworker housing to make the projects more feasible and increase the supply of farmworker housing.

AB 678 (Bocanegra) Increases the burden on local jurisdictions when denying an affordable housing project, would impose fines for a violation of the  Housing Accountability Act (the Act), expand judicial remedies for violations of the Act, and permits attorney’s fees for organizations that bring a successful lawsuit.  [same as SB 167 (Skinner)]

AB 879 (Grayson) Require all local governments to report the number of housing developments applications received each year and the number of units approved or denied each year. Require the Department of Housing and Community Development to complete a study of the reasonableness of local impact fees and make recommendations to the  regarding potential amendments to the Mitigation Fee Act to substantially reduce fees for residential development.

AB 1397 (Low) Closes a number of gaps that allow jurisdictions to circumvent critical planning obligations by relying on sites that aren’t truly available or feasible for residential development, especially multifamily development. This bill makes several changes to the "inventory of land suitable for residential development" analysis in housing element law, such as requiring a more detailed analysis before allowing sites with existing uses to be considered suitable for residential development.  

AB 1515 (Daly) Makes changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) to encourage greater production of housing and expand the number of housing developments afforded the protections of the HAA by requiring  the  courts to give less deference to a local government's planning and zoning consistency determination.