October 4, 2023 Corey Smith

A Watershed Moment for the Pro-Housing Movement

The pro-housing movement in California is having a watershed moment.

With the overwhelming success of the latest legislative session, getting multifamily housing entitled and permitted will soon be faster and easier than ever. HAC is proud to be one of the driving forces behind these recent wins as our ongoing efforts to collaborate with state and local elected officials to break down critical barriers to housing production are starting to pay off.

The headline bill from the latest legislative session is Senate Bill 423 from State Senator Scott Wiener. Senate Bill 423 will extend by a decade Senate Bill 35, which was set to expire in 2026, that allows homebuilders in cities that have fallen behind on state-mandated housing goals to bypass the bureaucratic process that blocks or delays the construction of multifamily projects.

SB 423 will be particularly important in San Francisco as SF is currently well behind on its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) targets. As our friend Annie Fryman explained, “Starting in the summer of 2024, almost all new apartment construction in San Francisco will be streamlined, including the supermajority of San Francisco housing that is priced by the market.”

In addition to SB 423, there were a number of other critical state laws passed that will help California take significant steps toward solving the state’s affordability and displacement crisis. Whether it’s the entitlement process, permitting, fees, enforcement,  CA’s housing policy is getting a much needed makeover.

To that end, I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. The state’s commitment to resolving this crisis is unwavering and by passing SB 423, Sacramento is signaling to cities across California that it is serious about tackling our housing challenges head-on. Hopefully, the state’s actions will provide a wake-up call to local governments to reevaluate their strategies and recommit to the cause.

Lastly, I invite all of our readers to celebrate these victories with us at our 21st annual Housing Heroes Awards. It is not just a celebration of HAC’s triumphs; it is a gathering of the collective power that propels us forward. Together, we are shaping the future of housing in California, and together, we will prevail.

Corey Smith

Corey Smith is HAC's Executive Director and can be reached at corey@housingactioncoalition.org.

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