Capitol Reporter

Affordable-home and homelessness policy news from the halls of the Capitol

The January 18, 2019 Issue

State Updates:
Housing California Statement on Governor's Proposed Budget
Current and Upcoming Sponsored and Supported Bills
Affordable Housing and Homelessness Funding and Requests
Federal Update:
Federal Government Shutdown Repercussions in California
Housing CA Update:
Help Us Shape the Future of California

State Updates

Housing California Statement on Governor's Proposed Budget

Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed budget on January 10. While we are still analyzing the affordable housing and homelessness proposals, we see much to be excited about and look forward to working with the administration and legislature. We are thrilled the governor has proposed incentives for affordable housing development, investments in mixed-income housing, revamping the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, linking transportation dollars to housing performance, expanding the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to $500 million, and using excess state property for affordable housing development. We will work with our partners to develop a strategy for refining and lifting up our priorities in the governor's budget. 

Housing CA's Budget Statements in the Media:

  • CalMatters commentary by Executive Director Lisa Hershey: "Finally California Seems Determined to End Homelessness"
  • The Sacramento Bee quote from Policy Director Tyrone Buckley: "You'll rarely hear folks in the affordable housing community say a budget is enough. We can always use more investment… I would just say that we go into this very hopefully."
  • KQED quote from Policy Director Tyrone Buckley: "We hope to see Gov. Newsom surpass previous administrations by dedicating an ongoing portion of the budget to provide stable, affordable homes for the 1.5 million low-income families over-burdened by housing costs and the 130,000 Californians experiencing homelessness on any given night, which is the foundation we need if the new administration is committed to racial, health, and economic equity."

Current and Upcoming Sponsored and Supported Bills

Housing California plans to sponsor the following policy ideas and bills. Note: Not all have authors and bill numbers yet. We'll update these in February with the authors, numbers, fact sheets, and requests for letters:

AB 10 (Chiu): Tax Credit Expansion: Expanding the California Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program by $500 million a year.

Source of Income Discrimination: It often takes several years for an applicant to obtain a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8). After waiting all of those years, voucher holders often find that it is impossible to use the voucher because many landlords openly refuse to allow the voucher as a form of rent payment. This bill would prohibit discrimination against voucher holders by adding vouchers to the list of sources of income that cannot be denied.

Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool: Housing California and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) are pursuing an idea that came out of the homelessness policy summits we hosted around the state in fall 2018. This program would provide rental assistance, operating subsidies, services, systems funding, and interim housing (capped at 20%) to cities, counties, and Continuums of Care.

Supportive Housing for People on Parole Experiencing Homelessness: Housing California and CSH are seeking to create a grant program for counties to provide supportive housing for people on parole similar to last year's SB 1010 (Beall) that died in committee.

Health Home Program Clean-Up: In 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 361 (Mitchell), which authorized the state to take advantage of an Affordable Care Act optional Medi-Cal benefit, now referred to as the Health Home Program (HHP). This clean-up legislation would remove language around restricting state funding and also require health plans to implement benefits in ways that would make the program more meaningful.

Supported Bills:

SCA 1 (Allen): Repeal Article 34: The California Constitution prohibits the development, construction, or acquisition of a low-rent housing development in any manner by any state public body until a majority of the qualified electors of the jurisdiction where the housing development is proposed approve the project by voting in favor at an election. This bill would put a repeal of Article 34 on the statewide ballot in 2020.

ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry): Affordable Housing and Public Infrastructure Voter Approval: This bill would reduce the local vote threshold for approval of bond and special tax measures to fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing from a two-thirds vote to a 55-percent majority.

Learn more and watch for updates, bill numbers, fact sheets, and support letter templates in the coming weeks and on our website.


Affordable Housing and Homelessness Funding and Requests

Housing California is excited to see the first round of awards go out from HCD for the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program (CESH), which we advocated for in 2018. A total of $53.3 million have been awarded to applicants and Continuums of Care.

"The biggest thing for me is that 24 of the awards include flexible housing subsidy pool investment and 32 awards are for rental assistance," said Housing California Homelessness Advocate Chris Martin.  "It's good to see people using the program for some more evidence-based interventions."

Learn more and expect a second round of funding to be available in spring 2019.

Now Available:

Federal Update

Federal Government Shutdown Repercussions for Californians in Need of Affordable Homes

Housing California and our partner the National Low Income Housing Coalition thank you for all of your help in reaching out to your members of Congress about the harmful impacts of the government shutdown. According to NLIHC, because of your outreach, 34 Senators and 138 Representatives nationwide signed onto a letter to the President, raising deep concerns about the impact of the shutdown on the people we serve who rely on federal housing assistance. This tremendous outcome is due in large part to your advocacy! You can find a copy of the letter here.

The shutdown impacts 177 Project-Based Rental Assistance Contracts in California through February, or more than 7,000 rental homes. Check out this fact sheet on the impacts of the shutdown on affordable housing programs, and contact your members of Congress.

Help Us Shape the Future of California. Become a Member Today.

We invite you or your organization to become a member of Housing California to help us create a California where no person lives on the street or in a car and everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home in a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous community.

Don't Delay. Join now as an organizational member to receive UNLIMITED discounted registrations for the April 15-17, 2019 Housing California Conference! Registration will open in the coming weeks.

We won big in 2018. With member support, Housing California, the Residents United Network and our partners achieved legislation and state ballot wins that have been years in the making. Our collective action resulted in:

  • The passage of Proposition 1 – the $4 billion Veterans and Affordable Housing Act and Proposition 2 – the $2 billion No Place Like Home Act.
  • The passage of 5 progressive legislative bills that work to end youth homelessness, support the development of permanent supportive housing, and advances renters' rights and protections.
  • An allocation of $770 million in the 2018 state budget toward homelessness solutions.
  • Elevating the importance of funding for affordable homes and homelessness during the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
  • Helping qualify the Schools and Communities First Act  – Prop 13 "split roll' – for the 2020 ballot which, if passed, will allow for more affordable development and more stable local revenues to fund affordable homes, among other community benefits for low-income families.

That's not all. Our ongoing work includes:

  • Building power through our Residents United Network (RUN) – providing leadership training and empowering Californians who live and work in affordable developments to become advocates.
  • Producing the country's largest conference on affordable homes and homelessness.
  • Working with traditional and non-traditional partners and sectors to create coordinated policies that lift people out of poverty.

We have important work ahead of us in 2019 and ask that you stand with us. When organizations and advocates join together, we are better, stronger, and more effective. Join us to continue our collective effort to shape the future of California we all want and deserve.

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Sacramento, California 95814

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