Bring CA Home

Proposal for more than $1.3 billion for FY 2016-17 Budget would address challenges ranging from homelessness to homeownership

Sacramento, CA – More than a dozen members of the Democratic Assembly Caucus today unveiled a plan that would deliver relief to California families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing rents. In a letter to Assembly Budget Subcommittee 4 Chair Asm. Adrin Nazarian, the caucus members, led by Housing Committee Chair Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Asm. Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), proposed more than $1.3 billion to stabilize families after median rents have soared by 20 percent since 2008, while median incomes have dropped by 8 percent. “Californians cannot wait,” they wrote.  “Immediate action is needed...in this budget year to address our housing crisis.”

“California’s housing affordability crisis tarnishes the promise of our great state, exacerbating traffic congestion, climate change and income inequality,” said Asm. Chiu. “As chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, I am proud to work with my colleagues to prioritize a comprehensive approach that will help Californians who are homeless, struggling to pay the rent, and trying to buy their first home.”

“California has failed to deliver adequate and affordable housing options to our residents for too many years,” said Asm. Thurmond. “This funding request will benefit  families across the state; both rural and urban Californians, with rental and home ownership needs. This is the first step towards ensuring that families can have a better quality of life by providing affordable options in the neighborhoods where they work.”

“California has some of the least affordable communities in the nation, with too many Californians unable to live where they work, and too many others seeing their monthly budgets eaten up by housing costs,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “Increasing affordable housing is good for kids, good for jobs and good for state and local budgets.”

State and federal funding for the development and preservation of affordable homes has plummeted by 79 percent since the elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 and the exhaustion of state housing bonds. The result is a $1.7 billion per year loss in state startup money that leverages federal matching dollars and private loans necessary to make affordable developments feasible.  While other critical state programs that were cut during the Great Recession have since been restored, affordable housing funds are not among them. When housing costs are factored in, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

The Assembly Democrats’ plan represents a one-time budget investment in five priority areas to meet the range of housing needs for working, lower-income families and Californians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

  • Rental housing for lower income working families;
  • Homeownership opportunities and rental housing for working families;
  • Affordable housing for rural California, including for farmworkers and their families;
  • Seismic retrofitting of “soft-story” homes; and
  • Housing assistance and production for homeless individuals and their families.

The attached letter contains a full breakdown of the spending proposal.

The Assemblymembers present noted that while ongoing investment is needed to address a housing affordability crisis that leaves 1.5 million families without a secure place to call home, a one-time investment of surplus funds in this year’s budget is a sound investment for California that will reduce the future costs of homelessness and healthcare.  What’s more, with the poorest 25 percent of Californians spending more than two-thirds of their income on housing, creating affordable places to live is a crucial step toward reducing poverty.

A hearing on the budget proposal has been requested for May.

View Letter (PDF)

Bring CA Home

“Affordable housing has been a top focus for me dating back to my time on the San Diego City Council, and it’s gratifying to see so many of my colleagues making it a priority for the Assembly this year. I’m extremely appreciative of their efforts. Housing affordability is a genuine crisis in California, and today’s announcement can only help propel action to solve it.”
--Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)

“It’s imperative that we make a meaningful investment in affordable housing and make policy changes that protect and expand our toolbox to create more affordable units. We must ensure that hard working families in California have a stable and affordable place to call home.”
--Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francsico)


"Access to safe and affordable housing isn't just a Los Angeles or San Francisco problem," said Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke.  "The housing crisis is hitting every community and it demands a serious investment in programs to end homelessness, increase our stock of affordable housing, and expand home ownership." --Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood)


“The lack of affordable housing and our growing homeless population has become a crisis in California. The Central Coast region is no exception. Homelessness has become a humanitarian crisis in Salinas, particularly in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood. According to a recent report, Salinas has the fastest-rising rental prices in California. I am thankful Speaker Rendon and my colleagues in the Assembly are willing to make this commitment to help our homeless and make the American Dream accessible again.” --Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas)

“On the heels of passing historic legislation to adopt the nation’s highest minimum wage and as the state continues to recover from the deep recession of mortgage lending industry collapse over the last decade, we must focus our attention to growing our investment in affordable housing and growing the discussion around affordable housing to include home ownership.”
--Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson)

“No one should be driven, by no fault of their own, from the communities they love, grew up in, and want to raise their families in. And no one should be forced to choose between a roof over their head or food for the family. But skyrocketing rents and lack of sufficient housing supply are placing tens of thousands of Californians in those exact situations. The budget proposal the Assembly unveiled today will help to halt these disturbing trends by restoring crucial funding that was lost with the elimination of redevelopment.” --Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland)

"The California budget is our state's biggest commitment to the health and well-being of our constituents and our economy.  Safe and affordable housing for our families and workforce is not a lofty aspiration for the eighth largest economy in the world.  The state has a moral responsibility to step up during this crisis." --Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina)

“California's housing-affordability crisis is a solvable problem, but not a simple problem. It requires a number of complementary policy solutions. Too many families and individuals will always remain priced out of our ownership and rental market, which is why state investment in affordable development is imperative. Housing California fully supports state investment to make housing more affordable to the individuals and families who are struggling the most.”
--Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California

“The California Coalition for Rural Housing strongly supports the efforts of the Assembly Housing Working Group to provide funding for the production and preservation of affordable homes in California.  In rural and small communities throughout the state, there is a huge pent-up need for decent homes for rent and purchase by the state’s farm workers, Native Americans, large families and the elderly and disabled who often live in squalid conditions and are critical to California’s sustainability and economic well-being.  This package will be the first new investment in these areas in 10 years.” --Rob Wiener, California Coalition for Rural Housing

“The California Housing Partnership applauds the Assembly’s leadership in proposing a major new state investment in affordable homes for California’s low-income workers, seniors and families.  This proposed one-time investment from the state’s current budget surplus is a fiscally conservative yet meaningful step toward addressing the housing needs of the 1.5 million California households that are either homeless or struggling to pay rent.” --Matt Schwartz, President & CEO, California Housing Partnership   

“This plan recognizes that our state’s housing affordability crisis is hurting California businesses and sending California jobs out of state. California’s affordable home developers are ready to deploy this much-needed investment to put affordable homes within reach of the state’s neediest individuals and families, create jobs, and strengthen communities.” --Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium

“The dramatic loss of funding in recent years to construct and preserve homes affordable to our low-income clients has been devastating. We applaud the Assembly for its tremendous leadership in proposing the first substantial new state investment in affordable homes since the passage of Proposition 1C in 2006. This is an important and meaningful step forward in ensuring that every Californian has a safe, affordable place to call home.” --Anya Lawler, Policy Advocate, Western Center on Law & Poverty

“CSH greatly appreciates the work put into this proposal. If passed, this budget package will end and prevent homelessness and other housing crises faced by thousands of Californians. It not only would go a long way toward breaking the cycle of despair for Californians experiencing homelessness and struggling with poor health, it makes fiscal sense, in decreasing the financial burden homelessness creates for our communities and the State.” --Sharon Rapport, Associate Director, Corporation for Supportive Housing

"We are very grateful that the California State Assembly has stepped up to address the growing homelessness and affordability crises faced by so many lower-income Californians. For far too long, the state has underinvested in affordable housing and this bold funding proposal begins to rectify that." --Michael Lane, Policy Director, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH)

“Housing is essential to social harmony, family health and the economic vibrancy of our state. California’s public investment in housing — especially for working families, seniors and those experiencing a hardship by no fault of their own is not only socially responsible but addresses the state’s biggest impediment to growth and prosperity.” --Tom Bannon, Chief Executive Officer, California Apartment Association

“Habitat for Humanity will leverage this important funding to provide more desperately needed affordable homeownership opportunities for Californians.” --Janice Jensen, Habitat for Humanity California

“Despite low mortgage rates and more positive signs for job and income growth, California continues to see housing costs soar – a result of supply failing to keep pace with demand. In this environment, affordability is a key concern. California homebuilders are pleased to support the effort today to ensure the state makes a small down payment in the housing needs of its residents. Though more needs to be done, this will give California housing markets a much needed boost.” --Richard Lyon, Senior Vice President, California Building Industry Association