Sacramento – California’s far-reaching housing package went into effect January 1, 2018, launching a major breakthrough for funding and fast-tracking housing development, especially for lower-income residents in the state.
California lawmakers approved the 15-bill housing package September 15, and Governor Edmund G. Brown signed the legislation two weeks later, building the foundation to help with the state’s fast-rising housing costs and easing local regulations that create financial hurdles and lengthy delays hurting low-income and middle-class families.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development is hosting a dedicated page of the department’s website, www.hcd.ca.gov as a one-stop-shop for the housing package, including summaries for all 15 bills and downloadable materials; frequently asked questions and implementation plans will be added soon.
“The housing package brings funding for more housing for low-income residents, requires that cities and counties follow their affordable housing plans, and removes roadblocks for much-needed projects,” said Ben Metcalf, Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. “The package will not solve the housing cost and the housing shortage challenges overnight, but provides a very solid foundation that we can build on in the years ahead.”
SB 2 is expected to generate an estimated $250 million a year to finance the construction of affordable housing and SB 3 places a bond measure on the November 2018 statewide ballot. If passed, the bond would provide $3 billion to finance affordable housing for low-income residents and another $1 billion for home and farm purchases for veterans.
Other bills streamline the approval process, fund planning and technical assistance to cities and counties, provide financial incentives for expediting certain housing developments, and provide one-time funding for homelessness programs.
“California’s housing challenges demand that everyone works together on solving the problem,” said HCD’s Metcalf.
Only 28% of the state’s households could afford to buy the median-priced home during the third quarter, the lowest percentage in a decade, according to a recent report from the California Association of Realtors.
The financial challenges are just as difficult for households that rent. More than 3 million households-the equivalent of the combined populations of San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco-pay at least 30% of their income on rent. And more than 1.6 million low-income households spend more than 50% of their income on rent.
The housing package will have a far-reaching effect beyond just affordable housing and expediting development. Infill, mixed-use and transit-oriented developments are part of the plan, allowing more low-income residents to live closer to work, which will ease congestion on roadways, improve air quality, and reduce health issues for many Californians.
About California Department of Housing and Community Development
The California Department of Housing and Community Development is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing so more Californians can have a place to call home. Our team works to ensure an adequate supply of housing for Californians and promotes the growth of strong communities through its leadership, policy, and program development. For more information, please visit www.hcd.ca.gov and sign up for HCD’s listserv announcements, follow us on Twitter, @California_HCD and Facebook, @CaliforniaHCD.