May 2, 2023 Housing Action Coalition

A Quarterly Review from HAC

With pro-housing momentum building at the state and local levels, 2023 has been an incredibly busy year so far at HAC.

At the state level, we’re co-sponsoring five pieces of legislation that will remove significant barriers to housing production and help propel California toward its goal of building 2.5 million homes by 2031.

From alleviating the student housing crisis to reforming the permitting appeals process, we’re excited to team up with Senator Scott Wiener and other leading legislators and partner organizations to fight for their passage.

  • Senate Bill 83 (Wiener): Co-sponsored with the Construction Employers Association (CEA).

    SB 83 aims to regulate Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) by setting time frames to complete essential work for new construction.
  • Assembly Bill 281 (Grayson): Co-sponsored with the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group. 

    AB 281 extends the permit review timelines created by HAC-sponsored AB 2234 (2022) to Special Districts. This means that Special Districts would have 30 or 60 days to comment on permit applications for new housing developments, depending on project size.
  • Assembly Bill 990 (Grayson): Co-sponsored with the Bay Area Council.

    Aims to protect streamlining for housing in response to a proposal from the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board. The projection is that ~50% of Oakland and San Jose infill projects utilize the exemption that is being proposed to be eliminated.
  • Assembly Bill 1114 (Haney): Co-sponsored with the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group. 

    AB 1114 will prevent unnecessary delays in housing construction. San Francisco is the only city in California that allows any individual or group to delay a housing project by appealing already-issued building permits. This legislation will close this loophole and allow approved housing projects to be built without unnecessary and costly delays.
  • Assembly Bill 1485 (Haney): Co-sponsored with California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

    Clarifies that the Attorney General has the unconditional right to intervene.

In addition to our five co-sponsored bills, HAC is advocating for two other key policy proposals: 

  • Senate Bill 423 (Wiener): Would permanently extend SB 35, which streamlines the production of housing projects in certain cities where at least 50% of the units are affordable. SB 423 would also strengthen SB 35’s impact by expanding it to cover mixed-income housing.

    Passed in 2017, SB 35 has shown to be a promising tool to help accelerate housing production in cities failing to meet their state-mandated housing goals. In San Francisco, for example, homebuilders have used the law to speed up planning approval of at least 3,021 homes so far, the vast majority of which are affordable.

  • Senate Bill 4 (Wiener): The Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act provides a streamlined process for religious organizations and nonprofit colleges to develop affordable housing on their property.

Local Advocacy

In the Bay Area, HAC has been working hand in hand with local officials, as we urge cities across the region to submit state-compliant housing elements for building their fair share of housing (especially affordable housing).

While a staggering percentage of Bay Area cities have so far failed to submit housing plans that meet state standards, HAC is proud to have closely collaborated with San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley to ensure their housing elements were submitted and certified on time (or almost on time.)

We plan to continue pressing historically anti-housing cities like Atherton and Mountain View to submit realistic plans for how they will contribute to the Bay Area’s severe need for more housing. 

HAC Events

Here are a couple of notable events HAC has hosted/will be hosting in 2023…

  • A members-only project tour of 921 Howard, where we gave members an exclusive sneak peek of the SoMa project before it opened to the public
  • Led an Affordable Housing Town Hall, where our South Bay/Peninsula Organizer Ali Sapirman moderated a discussion with Sen. Scott Wiener, Asm. Buffy Wicks and Asm. Alex Lee about their latest legislative efforts, and how pro-housing advocates can work together to ensure their success.
  • In May, we’re looking forward to hosting our 17th Annual Spring Symposium! With the theme of Innovation in Housing, Spring Symposium will feature conversations with housing experts from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors exploring new solutions to our region and state’s longstanding housing shortage and affordability challenges.

Team Updates

Internally, HAC has embarked on a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) journey, as we work with a consultant to identify how we can develop as a team, improve our culture, and deepen our organization’s impact. 

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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