San Francisco Hearing Calls for Solutions to Statewide Affordable Housing Crisis

For immediate release:
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Assemblymember David Chiu and colleagues hear from advocates and experts just before

Assembly hearings on housing bills begin next week

 

Sacramento, CA–Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, today joined legislative colleagues from around the state at a committee hearing in San Francisco to discuss possible solutions to the state’s housing affordability crisis. The legislators heard from housing advocates and experts and members of the public about the need for affordable housing funding, ideas for increasing housing production, and approaches to prevent evictions and displacement, among other housing policy considerations. Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) attended the forum.

“We must act this year in Sacramento to take on California’s affordable housing crisis,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “San Francisco is often seen as the epicenter of the crisis, but skyrocketing rents and home prices affect every part of the Golden State. There is no one solution that will make housing affordable, so we need a variety of strategies. I appreciate the participation of my colleagues in the robust hearings that we’re holding around the state to consider solutions.”

Today’s hearing was the third informational hearing of the Assembly Housing Committee in recent weeks; the next one is in Los Angeles on March 17. The committee will also begin hearing bills, including Assemblymember Chiu’s proposal to fund affordable housing by eliminating a tax break on vacation homes (Assembly Bill 71), on March 8 in Sacramento.

In the 2-year legislative session that began in December, over 100 bills have been introduced in the Assembly that touch on housing; State Senators have introduced at least 30 bills. These totals are greater than in the entire preceding two-year legislative session. The high volume of bills this year is a testament to the impact of the housing crisis across the state - and demonstrate a commitment to address it.

Throughout the state, families are burdened with high housing costs and long commutes. California is the sixth largest economy in the world, yet it is facing the most serious housing crisis in its history, including a large number of people experiencing homelessness. The state’s poverty rate is highest in the nation when housing costs are factored in.

In recent years California has dramatically reduced its investment in affordable housing. The dissolution of redevelopment agencies led to the loss of more than $1 billion annually, and funds from the 2006 voter-approved housing bonds are exhausted.

Among the housing bills introduced by Assemblymember Chiu and his Assembly colleagues are proposals to protect immigrant tenants, fund production of housing for low-income families, make it easier for local jurisdictions to vote to fund affordable housing, incentivize local governments to complete upfront planning and environmental review and approve housing permits to increase housing production, enhance the enforcement of existing state housing laws by the State Attorney General, and provide rental assistance to homeless Medi-Cal recipients.

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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.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) represents the 19th Assembly District which spans the Westside of San Francisco as well as the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and South San Francisco.

Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D - Winters) represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Napa and Yolo Counties, parts of Colusa County, Dixon in Solano County and Rohnert Park in Sonoma County.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D - Santa Monica) represents the 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D - Oakland) represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro.

Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D – San Mateo) represents the 22nd District in San Mateo County. District includes: Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Emerald Lake Hills, Foster City, Highlands-Baywood Park, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Montara, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo - Moss Beach, South San Francisco.

 

 

Voices for Affordable Housing from the San Francisco Hearing

 

“Housing costs are uprooting families and reducing access to high-wage jobs of the future.  We need serious reform to chart a course away from business as usual, which only leads to more income inequality and homelessness.  We need an affordable housing breakthrough so that our future is more prosperous and inclusive.” --Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)

“As a former Mayor, I know how hard it is to find financing tools to build housing and other infrastructure.  This is why I am proposing ACA 4, which will allow local officials to fund critical projects with the support of 55% of local voters. I want to thank Chair Chiu for his partnership in this effort.” --Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters)

“Resolving the housing affordability crisis will require a multidisciplinary and multi-year approach that addresses increasing the middle and working class market-rate housing supply, funding for subsidized affordable housing, and preservation of existing affordable neighborhoods. Building on last year’s success and lessons learned, I’ve sought to address these goals and more in 2017. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Chiu on these solutions in his committee and appreciate the opportunity to hear local perspectives on these issues in San Francisco.”  --Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)

“Our families, friends and neighbors are hurting.  People should be able to live in the communities where they grew up and live close to where they work. No one should have to choose between a roof over their head and putting food on the table. The housing affordability crisis is an all-hands-on-deck challenge and, as state leaders, we’re committed to finding strong solutions.” --Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland)

“We absolutely must find a way to make more affordable housing available; particularly workforce housing so more Californians can live closer to where they work. As we’ve seen rents and housing prices continue to skyrocket, it is abundantly clear that the state has been delinquent in developing a real housing policy. I look forward to working with Assemblyman Chiu to address this ongoing issue that is critical to all of California.” --Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo)

“Housing scarcity is not a progressive value. It deeply impacts both our working-class and future generations of Californians. Both 1.7 million low-income renter households and the average Californian born in 1990 are spending about half or more of their income on housing." --Kim-Mai Cutler, Operating Partner at Initialized Capital; Contributor at Techcrunch

“Bay Area residents made clear that they're ready for action on housing -- but we, and the rest of the state, need California lawmakers to step up and do their part too in supporting the needs of our neighbors and the values of our communities.” --Amie Fishman, Executive Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH)

“We are glad to see the Assembly leadership taking a comprehensive approach to policy solutions, recognizing that one size does not fit all given the highly varied scale and demographic complexity of this state. Urban gentrifying communities and suburban communities have very different conditions on the ground, with different policy tools and resources needed for both increasing affordable housing and stabilizing low income and working class neighborhoods.” --Peter Cohen, Co-director of SF Council of Community Housing Organizations

"The lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area is not just a crisis for our cities.  It is undermining our regional economy and contributing to climate change, as people have to drive further and further to work." --Chris Benner, Professor, Dorothy E. Everett Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship Chair, University of California, Santa Cruz;  Director, Everett Program

"It's essential that we collaborate to address the housing crisis. The need is too big and the issues too interrelated for any one city to solve it alone." --Joshua Abrams, Project Manager, 21 Elements; Principal at Baird + Driskell Community Planning

“California has one of the highest levels of inequality in the nation and a driving force of this inequality is the lack of access to safe, decent, affordable housing for millions of working class and low-income renters. There is simply no way to address inequality in the state in a meaningful way without addressing the housing crisis.” --Tony Roshan Samara, Program Director of Land Use and Housing at Urban Habitat