2019 will be a busy year for housing in Sacramento, as there are several upcoming bills in the California Assembly and Senate. Written and co-sponsored by our local assemblymen and senators, the bills address the affordability crisis in California. The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition supports our local politicians putting words into action. Our organization has proudly endorsed all of these bills and look forward to working with our state delegation throughout the legislative process.
Starting in the Assembly, Assembly Bill 68 was the first bill introduced by Phil Ting. The proposal encourages the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by standardizing the approval process across county lines and cutting the required time to issue an approval in half (down to 60 days). Any potential additions to the process may be deemed illegal, since ADUs are subject to ministerial approval. Another bill from Asm. Ting is Assembly Bill 69, which requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to create a Small Home Building Standards Code by January 1st, 2021. HCD will also have the power to evaluate local municipalities’ ADU ordinances and report infractions to the State Attorney General.
Assemblymember David Chiu has introduced Assembly Bill 10, which increases California’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by $500m from its current limit at $94m. This program is matched by federal dollars 1:3, which will direct $2 billion for over 5,000 affordable units. Asm. Chiu has also introduced Assembly Bill 11 to replace the Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) program which were dissolved in 2011. Local governments will be allowed to create affordable housing agencies funded by incremental increases in property taxes. New safeguards will also be put in place to ensure oversight.
In the Senate, State Senator Scott Wiener has introduced Senate Bill 48 which asserts the need for future legislation to ensure all Californians a “right to shelter”. Though still in the early stages, it sets a goal of providing a navigation center-style shelter for all Californians experiencing homelessness. Senator. Wiener has also introduced SCA 1, a State Constitutional Amendment to repeal Article 34, a requirement that all publicly-owned affordable housing projects be subject to voter approval. Currently, the requirement slows down projects, costs home builders thousands of dollars, and blocks people of color and those of lower incomes from particular neighborhoods, as it has for decades. SCA 1 brings our State’s Constitution closer to actualizing the progressive values we hold. These two proposals join Senate Bill 50, the More HOMES Act, on the list of SFHAC endorsed bills from Senator Wiener.
Overall, we’re thrilled by the direction and determination from our pro-housing legislators in Sacramento. The affordability and displacement crisis will not be fixed in one or even ten legislative cycles. But the leadership from our San Francisco elected officials is laudatory.