Capitol Reporter

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

In the June 28, 2018 Issue:

  • Affordable Housing, Homelessness Advocates Look to New Investment, Ballot, and Administrative Changes to Address Solvable Crisis
  • #USHomelessProject Highlights Need to Build More Affordable Homes - Veterans and Affordable Housing Act Will Deliver
  • We Need Housing Experts to Inform 2020 Census Policy Work
  • Strategic Growth Council Awards More Than $257M to Build Affordable Homes Near Jobs, Transit

Affordable Housing, Homelessness Advocates Look to New Investment, Ballot, and Administrative Changes to Address Solvable Crisis

Governor Jerry Brown signed the last state budget of his career this week, which included a $500 million investment to address the emergency need surrounding homelessness and the decision to place the $2 billion No Place Like Home Program on the November ballot. Housing California will engage through our legislative, administrative, and electoral work to ensure this year's investment is used appropriately and effectively. We also see this as an opportunity for a new governor to focus on deeper investment and a comprehensive set of policies needed to fully address this solvable affordable housing crisis.

Housing California is also excited to see the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council elevated to a department level, as part of the state Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. HCFC was created in 2017 as part of a bill co-sponsored by Housing California and supported by the Residents United Network to oversee the implementation of Housing First policies, guidelines, and regulations to prevent and end homelessness. Several partners sit on the Council, including Housing California member Amy Anderson of PATH Ventures. HCFC also plans to recruit a formerly homeless youth member.

Housing California and RUN are grateful to Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Budget Chairs Senator Holly Mitchell and Assemblymember Phil Ting, and Senators Jim Beall and Nancy Skinner, for their commitment to begin investing in and implementing permanent solutions to homelessness.


#USHomelessProject Highlights Need to Build More Affordable Homes. The Veterans and Affordable Housing Act Will Deliver.

More than 100 media organizations across the country spent today reporting on homelessness, and many California stories focused on the inextricable link to the high cost of housing and lack of affordable homes. Use #USHomelessProject to find stories like this one, which quotes our legislative advocate Chris Martin on the need for a state plan to end homelessness that includes permanent homes for people exiting emergency shelters.

There’s good news – you can join the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act campaign today, and the broad coalition working together to make affordable housing a reality for more Californians. Help us pass the $4 billion measure on the November ballot that will build homes for veterans, working families, people with disabilities and Californians experiencing homelessness – maybe someone you know who needs a safe, stable home.

Co-led by Housing California, California Housing Consortium, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, this campaign will require a broad coalition of supporters. And there’s plenty of reasons to support it:

  • The Veterans and Affordable Housing Act is expected to create 137,000 jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California’s economy.
  • We know 1 in 3 Californians can’t afford their rent and need the affordable housing the measure can provide.
  • Many people are spending more than 30% of their incomes and some as much as 50% of their incomes on housing.

Join us today – endorse, organize, stay informed!

  • ENDORSE. You can endorse the bond as an individual as well as get your organization on board.
  • STAY INFORMED. Sign up for updates and receive the latest news on our campaign.
  • Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

We Need Housing Experts to Inform 2020 Census Policy Work

Housing California is part of the Census Policy Advocacy Network, a collaborative of statewide organizations to help shape policy concerning the American Community Survey and the 2020 Census. Traditionally, certain populations in our nation have been disproportionately undercounted in the decennial census. These populations include African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people, low-income communities, children, people who have disabilities and/or those who are homeless. This undercount reduces the number of California representatives in Congress, denying uncounted individuals an equal voice in government. Many communities have also been short-changed on federal and state funding for schools, health care, and transportation. The network’s goal is to educate policymakers and community leaders about the government investment and sound policies needed to ensure a fair and accurate census in 2020. Housing California Executive Director Lisa Hershey also serves as an appointed member of the California Complete Count Committee to assist with these efforts.

Housing California is looking for experts interested in identifying where Californians may be hard to reach by the Census because of their housing situations. If you are interested in joining an ad hoc committee and assisting us in this effort, please email legislative advocate Chris Martin.


Strategic Growth Council Awards More Than $257M to Build Affordable Homes Near Jobs, Transit

Today, Housing California was thrilled to see the list of Strategic Growth Council (SGC) awards totaling more than $257 million from a successful state program to 19 new developments. Each development will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help more Californians live closer to their jobs, and to necessities like grocery stores, health care, and social services.

By integrating affordable homes and sustainable transportation, the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program makes it easier for Californians to drive less. Research shows that people who earn modest incomes use public transit, walk or ride a bike more than high-income earners who live with those same transit options. Read the research in this paper by Center for Neighborhood Technology in collaboration with California Housing Partnership, Housing California, and the Ford Foundation. 

To date, affordable home development and other projects awarded through the AHSC program will avoid the release of more than 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of taking 320,000 cars off the road. The program has also awarded funding for the construction of more than 6,000 homes for Californians who struggle to make ends meet.

SGC Councilmember and California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Secretary Matt Rodriquez said, "These investments will improve the lives of thousands of Californians and put our communities on a more sustainable course. At the same time, they will help achieve our statewide climate goals by employing a variety of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are critical investments in California's future health and well-being."

The list of staff recommended projects that were approved by the Council is available on the Strategic Growth Council's website. When completed, the developments will provide nearly 2,000 new homes affordable to Californians with modest incomes. Housing California continues to advocate with our partners for ongoing, long-term investments from the cap-and-trade program into affordable housing. 


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