Governor Jerry Brown came to San Francisco on Friday, September 28th to sign into law 15 housing bills that address process reform, funding and local accountability for building homes in California. Many lawmakers, media, legislative staff and advocates gathered at Hunters View, a mixed-income project in the Bayview, to witness this landmark event. “This is the biggest bill signing I’ve ever seen, because it’s about something so basic – shelter,” said the Governor.
These measures are a critical first step towards addressing a housing shortage that has been decades in the making.
“These new funds will replenish the state’s proven affordable housing programs and jump-start many, many projects that are ready to get started and will make a real impact; at the same time, the regulatory changes will help get shovels in the ground and reduce the time and expense of providing critically-needed affordable housing for struggling California families,” stated Jack Gardner, President and CEO of The John Stewart Company, the developer of Hunters View.
The package of bills, outlined in Farella Braun + Martel’s blog, address funding for subsidized affordable housing, streamlining the approval process and enforcing local laws to ensure cities provide their fair of homes. Advocacy groups such as SFHAC, SPUR and the YIMBY Party, amongst many others at the regional and state level, have pushed for such policy reform and are thrilled the state is taking action. The lack of housing creation throughout the state threatens our economy, social and economic diversity and environmental goals.
While everyone was there to celebrate this year’s accomplishments, the legislature acknowledged the work is not over. “I’m happy to hear my colleagues talk about how this is the beginning, because I have some bills for you next year,” said Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco.
There is a lot more that can be done to address this problem that has been in the making for 50 years, at the local, regional and state levels. Progress is already underway in San Francisco. Mayor Lee announced an executive directive to expedite the approval process for housing, which he hopes will cut the time in half. “The time for excuses, delays and bureaucracy is over,” he states.
The Governor’s signing of this housing package signals a bright future. SFHAC Executive Director Todd David said, “Today marks a sea change on addressing California’s housing shortage and it’s just the beginning.”