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  • Capital Public Radio: California Will Strengthen “Anti-NIMBY Act” As Part Of Housing Package

    mark.hogan / FlickrGov. Jerry Brown will sign a package of bills Friday that seek to address California’s exorbitant housing costs. One piece that’s flown below the radar would make it harder for cities and counties to evade state housing mandates. The legislation deals with a 35-year-old California law called the Housing Accountability Act – sometimes nicknamed the “Anti-NIMBY (Not In My Backyard)” Act. The law’s intent is to block local governments from arbitrarily rejecting development projects that comply with their existing zoning and land use policies. Identical bills by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Asm. Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) would put more teeth in that law.

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  • SacBee: Here’s why California’s historic housing legislation won’t bring down costs anytime soon

    California lawmakers this year took historic action to address what one housing economist says is the state’s most serious problem: unaffordability. “Over the past 30 years, we’ve made it very difficult to build new housing and wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of house prices or rents, to the point it has grown into a crisis. It’s the single biggest problem California faces,” said Ken Rosen, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. “If we don’t solve this problem, the economic impacts over the next five to 10 years will be devastating. “Companies will move out. Young people won’t be able to afford to stay here. As people retire, they’ll move, and California will no longer be the Golden State,” Rosen said.

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  • Fox & Hounds: The California Housing Crisis

    While the U.S. Congress is setting records for futility in passing important measures, the California legislature just completed one of the most productive sessions in its history. Immigration, transportation, climate control, medical and recreational marijuana, public safety, health care and much more got attention as Governor Jerry Brown, riding a popularity wave most governors can only dream of, signed numerous ambitious bills in the closing hours. Far and away the biggest focus was on what many think is the most pressing issue of the day—a lack of adequate housing. No less than 130 bills were introduced to deal with the issue—a record. The statistics reveal a mixed picture.

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  • OC Register: Housing crisis: See how state lawmakers are putting more teeth — and more money — into reform

    0528_nws_ocr-l-eviction01_01Millions, if not billions, in new dollars will flow to housing programs under a host of housing bills adopted in the final hours of the California Legislature. New rules will make it harder for local governments to block developments. And lawmakers put some teeth into weak, often ignored laws mandating that cities approve more housing. On Sept. 15, the last day to approve new laws, the legislature passed 15 housing bills aimed at easing a statewide housing shortage that’s fueling skyrocketing rents and home prices. Gov. Jerry Brown said he plans to sign them. “For millions of people it is next to impossible to buy a house or even find an apartment they can afford,” Brown said in a statement. “These 15 bills will spur the building of more housing and increase the number of Californians who can actually afford to buy or rent.”

     

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  • Next City: Here’s What U.S. Cities Gain If Housing Is Affordable

    This week, as part of the #RenterWeekofAction, September 18 to 23, renters in over 45 cities will take to the streets to demand better protections from displacement and more community control over land and housing. Recognizing the severity of the housing affordability crisis facing renters from Oakland to Miami and the need for policy solutions, the National Equity Atlas, a partnership between PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, analyzed the growth of renters in the nation and in 37 cities, their contributions to the economy, and what renters and the United States stand to gain if housing were affordable. We found that renters now represent the majority in the 100 largest cities in the U.S. and are growing as a share of the population nationwide, comprising 35 percent of the population — a 27 percent increase since 2000. Renters also make tremendous contributions to economic, social and political life.

     

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  • NBC: San Jose Mulls Options to Boost Affordable Housing Supply

    San Jose city leaders are considering boosting the region’s affordable housing supply in an effort that could drop rent prices for some residents plagued by soaring prices. The city council is mulling an idea that would require new apartment construction projects to include a certain number of affordable units. The south bay city currently contains roughly 227 subsidized apartments, but a growing list of more than 17,000 people need an affordable place to stay. That list continues to increase as the average rent in San Jose climbs over $2,400 per month. A possible solution to the housing crunch is currently in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown. He must sign a bill into law that would give cities the ability to require subsidized housing in new housing rental projects.

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  • NBC: Anaheim Struggles With Growing Homeless Crisis at River Camp

    Anaheim Struggles With Growing Homeless Crisis at River CampThe row of tents and tarps stretches two miles along the parched riverbed and houses hundreds of homeless. The garbage-strewn strip is also the site of a popular bike path where cyclists in colorful gear zoom by those seeking food, a shower or a job. Over the past two years, the trail that cuts through the heart of Southern California’s Orange County has become the site of a ballooning homeless encampment that officials say has been fueled by exorbitant housing costs, mental illness and drug use. Amid an uproar from residents, the city of Anaheim declared an emergency Wednesday in an attempt to cope with the crisis and speed the addition of shelter beds. A day earlier, Orange County officials passed a measure to step up police patrols.

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  • CBS: Bills Addressing California Housing Crunch Pass Assembly

    The California Assembly approved a package of bills to address the state’s housing crunch late Thursday as lawmakers search for ways to generate more money and streamline regulations that can stifle new construction. The tense and dramatic late-night vote in the Assembly sets up a final decision on Friday in the Senate, which has already approved earlier drafts of all the measures in the six-bill package. California lacks an estimated 1.5 million affordable housing units compared to demand, and the state’s homelessness rate is disproportionately high. Still, alleviating the crisis has proved a difficult issue in the Capitol as lawmakers deal with thorny issues of raising taxes and easing environmental regulations. “We are living during the worst housing crisis our state has ever experienced,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who leads the Assembly housing committee.

     

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  • LA Times: Five ways to reform California’s landmark environmental law without ruining the Earth or the middle class

    When then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed into law the California Environmental Quality Act in 1970, he and its authors could not have foreseen what the landmark legislation would become decades later: a law stretched so far beyond its original intent that it threatens to turn the Golden State’s economy to lead. Though conceived as a limited set of rules requiring state and local agencies to identify and study the environmental impacts of their actions and to put in place measures — if feasible — to reduce those impacts, CEQA today is widely used and abused to stall and ultimately thwart public infrastructure projects and private-sector developments, often for entirely non-environmental reasons.

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  • SF Chronicle: More housing or more homelessness

    An encampment on the outskirts of Placerville, in El Dorado County. Photo: Michael Macor, The ChronicleAs legislators come perilously close to extending their already impressive record of failure to face California’s housing emergency, they should consider yet another measure of the statewide scope of the suffering. With bills to boost housing development and subsidies still in the balance and only a few days of legislating left in the year, a Chronicle analysis of the state’s homeless population showed that the housing shortage and its consequences go well beyond San Francisco and the state’s other wealthy coastal cities. A 15 percent increase in unsheltered Californians over the past two years encompassed startling growth in the homeless populations of rural counties such as El Dorado (122 percent) and Butte (76 percent), where more have landed on the streets of small cities such as Chico and in encampments in rural areas such as Lake Tahoe. While these counties have seen rent increases that rival those of the Bay Area, they lack a comparable network of social services.

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