Assembly and Senate Hearing on Housing Package Implementation Underscores Need for More Funding and Reform

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SACRAMENTO --The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee today held a joint hearing on the implementation of the historic housing package passed last year. Testimony from experts and advocates highlighted the need for funding for affordable housing production as well as further reforms to streamline local approvals.  

The hearing, led by chairs Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), detailed the devastating $500 million hit on affordable housing in California from the recent federal tax changes and showed that California remains far short of the estimated 180,000 units needed each year to keep track of the state’s growing population. Roughly 2.2 million extremely low-income and very low-income renter households are competing for only 664,000 affordable rental homes, leaving more than 1.54 million of California’s lowest income households struggling to find homes.

“While we made historic gains last year with the passage of the housing package, millions of Californians are still struggling,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco).  “We have much more work to do in terms of securing funding for affordable housing production, supporting programs to alleviate our homelessness crisis, and addressing the plight of renters in California.”

While significant progress was made in 2017 with the passage of several affordable housing funding measures, panelists noted that more funding for affordable housing production is badly needed.  The passage of the federal tax plan lowered the value of Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a major source of financing for affordable housing projects across the country.  This reduction in value has caused gaps in funding for many affordable housing developments in California underscoring the need for more state funding to help finance these projects.

“Last year, the Legislature made history by passing 15 key housing bills, anchored by SB 2 and SB 3 that provide an infusion of one-time and on-going funding to create affordable housing,” said Senator Jim Beall.  “But our work is not over. The Legislature must enact innovative, forward-thinking solutions to meet California’s housing needs now and well into the future. This is why today’s oversight hearing is so significant.’’

Panelists also urged lawmakers to consider implementing policies to expand protections for tenants in California.  A group of bills introduced by Assemblymembers David Chiu, Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) would provide greater protections and extended timelines for tenants facing evictions.

Additional background on the hearing can be found here.

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