Speaker Anthony Rendon, Housing Chair David Chiu, and Colleagues Push Solutions to Housing Affordability Crisis

Monday, April 17, 2017

Returning from spring recess after historic transportation vote, Assemblymembers highlight wide range of approaches to help Californians struggling with skyrocketing rents and home prices

Sacramento, CA–Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, was today joined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) and Assembly colleagues to push for solutions to the housing affordability crisis that threatens California’s economy and makes life difficult for so many of the state’s residents. Legislators called for a variety of approaches, including a new permanent source of affordable housing funding, creative ways to reduce homelessness, streamlined housing production, and strengthened enforcement of the state’s housing laws.

“We voted to fix our roads, and now we must help all Californians live in housing they can afford,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “The Governor compared our bumpy roads to a leaky roof, but the reality is that too many Californians don’t have roofs over their heads at all. And if they do have a home they pay so much for it that they can barely afford other essentials like food and health care. There is no one solution that will make housing affordable, so we need a variety of strategies. I appreciate the leadership of Speaker Rendon and the engagement of my colleagues as we work together to make real progress this year.”

“After achieving a solution to the state’s transportation crisis, the Assembly will focus the same level of attention on another issue that millions of Californians face – the lack of affordable housing,” Speaker Rendon said. “Assembly Democrats are working on numerous fronts to deal with this crisis, including finding a permanent and ongoing funding source, regulatory reform, expediting infill housing, and inducements for approving affordable housing projects.”

This year legislators have demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing housing issues. In the 2-year legislative session that began last December, over 100 bills have been introduced in the Assembly that touch on housing; State Senators have introduced close to 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 the Assembly’s efforts to address it.

Throughout the state, families are burdened with high housing costs that are causing them to live increasingly far from where they work, and the ensuing long commutes undermine their basic quality of life. 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.

“With their recent investment in our roads and highways, California’s leaders have shown it’s possible to come together to solve intractable problems and make bold commitments to our economy and our future. Now our state must show the same resolve when it comes to helping the people who are living on our streets and the many more who are at risk of joining them if we do not swiftly increase production of affordable places to live," said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium, which launched a new website today, BringCAHome.org, to provide information on the housing crisis.  “CHC is proud to champion legislation that will break down barriers to building and investment that will jumpstart construction of affordable homes for California families.”

Today’s push for action took place as President Trump’s proposed budget slashes more than $6 billion - or 13 percent - from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including the elimination of essential Community Development Block Grants and Section 8 housing vouchers.  The impact to California would be significant.  More than 75 percent of HUD’s budget goes to helping families pay their rent.

Even without looming federal cuts, California in recent years has dramatically reduced its own investment in affordable housing. The dissolution of redevelopment agencies led to the loss of $1 billion annually, and funds from a 2006 voter-approved housing bonds are exhausted. By one estimate, total state and federal funding for affordable housing production and preservation has plummeted by 69 percent since 2008.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Paramount) represents the 63rd Assembly District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, and South Gate.
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.

Voices for Housing Affordability

“I would like to thank Speaker Rendon and Chair Chiu for their leadership in attacking the state’s housing crisis. Local leaders need our strong commitment to help them increase the availability of safe and affordable housing for families, workers, and students. This is why I am proud to author ACA 4, which will empower local communities to support projects in their neighborhoods and give them the power to determine how to pay for it.” --Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee

“California’s housing crisis has long-demanded, and finally captured, the full attention of the State Legislature. Addressing this multidimensional problem will require a legislative package that tackles each one of its many facets, from housing construction to rent control, and will often entail challenging and exhaustive discussions. I and my colleagues in the Assembly have undertaken a broad legislative effort that offers real solutions and we will continue to have productive dialogue through Assemblymember David Chiu’s committee.” --Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation

“We are in a true housing crisis. Families are struggling with having to choose between housing and food. I’m committed to working with my colleagues and all stakeholders to increase housing supply and provide important protections and relief for residents; particularly renters.” --Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Assistant Majority Leader

California housing prices are soaring and our communities are facing the crisis of home affordability.  Almost 70 percent of the state’s low-income and very-low-income households would have to spend more than half of their income just to afford the local cost of housing.  It is time to get creative in our approach to solving this problem which is why I introduced AB 30, which would take advantage of strip malls that are sitting idle in our communities and expedite the conversion of these underused properties by remedying CEQA.  We must also increase funding for workforce housing, which is why I am authoring ACA 11, which proposes a quarter-cent sales tax initiative which if approved by voters.  This would bring over one billion in annual revenue to help construct much needed housing units for working families, seniors, and homeless. It is time we help California build the vibrant, thriving, safe, and affordable communities we all deserve.” --Assemblymember Anna Caballero (D – Salinas), Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee

"Every community has a responsibility to provide affordable housing options, and we can take steps to help at the state level. With the right mix of incentives and accountability, like those in my bill, AB 1350, we can get long overdue projects off the ground." --Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D – Glendale)

“Housing affordability is a critical issue that California must prioritize if we are to truly provide the stability families need to thrive and prosper. This year, I spent a night on the streets with the homeless and also supported Measure H, which will go a long way towards providing housing stability to some our most vulnerable. I am proud to be able to join Assemblymember Chiu at this Housing Press Conference and look forward to continued collaboration on this important topic that is affecting people all over California and across the nation.” --Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D – Carson)

“California has been plagued by this housing crisis for too long, and it has imposed a hardship on too many of our residents. It is time that our State Legislature comes together to address this problem head on. Housing prices have skyrocketed statewide. As a result, hardworking Californians have been pushed out of their homes, forced to move because of ever increasing rent costs, or prevented from entering the market. This has to change. Working together with my colleagues, I know we can find real solutions to not only increase the production of housing units, but also make prices more affordable.” --Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D – San Diego), Assistant Majority Whip

“As Assemblyman Chui has pointed out, California’s poverty rate is 20th in the nation but, when housing is factored in, it jumps to number one. When I hear that 14 percent of all households in California spend more than half of their income on housing, I know that other priorities are falling lower on the list, like eating healthy and obtaining needed health care and prescriptions -- knowing that concerns me greatly.” --Assemblymember Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee

“When our hardworking California families cannot afford their homes, all other systems of our state’s infrastructure are impacted. We drive further and longer, or live in unhealthy or overcrowded conditions,” said Lisa Hershey, executive director of Housing California. “Housing California commends our state leaders for investing in transportation infrastructure and promoting public transit. We should now build on this momentum to help pass smart housing legislation that funds an already successful way to develop and preserve affordable homes for Californians who do a daily juggle to pay for housing, food, transportation and health care.” --Lisa Hershey, Executive Director of Housing California

“We commend Chair David Chiu, Speaker Rendon and other legislative leaders for prioritizing California’s housing crisis. As rents and housing prices continue to climb, hardworking rural families are looking to Sacramento to help tackle this problem.
--Brian Augusta, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

“California’s affordable housing crisis is now a four-alarm blaze that is burning out of control. It’s leaving tens of thousands of people homeless, confining families to increasingly dangerous and unstable living situations, and making entire cities unaffordable to all but the highest income earners. We thank the Speaker and Assemblymember Chiu for their leadership in fighting this dangerous fire. We are excited and ready to work with them and their Assembly colleagues to craft a bold package of solutions that will ensure that Californians with the lowest incomes have access to safe, affordable places to call home in every California community.”
--Anya Lawler, Policy Advocate, Western Center on Law & Poverty