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  • Enterprise: Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Affordable Housing

    US Capitol

    Today the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on “America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions.” In a bipartisan show of support for affordable housing, members of the Committee from both sides of the aisle acknowledged the need for more affordable housing and the role of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) as our nation’s primary tool for increasing the supply of affordable rental housing.

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  • Ventura County Star: Another state bill that would worsen housing crisis

    Affordable housing 3Assembly Bill 1701 is such an example that will needlessly escalate costly litigation, create a cottage industry for trial attorneys to target homebuilders and depress the housing stock the state desperately needs.  When a new housing project gets underway, general contractors often hire and pay subcontractors to complete such critical components of the project like plumbing, electrical and framing work.

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  • Reuters: U.S. home sales stumble as prices hit record high

    U.S. home resales fell more than expected in June as a dearth of properties amid strong demand pushed prices to a record high, keeping first-time buyers on the sidelines. The housing market has experienced an acute shortage of homes for sale for about two years. As the labor market churns out more jobs and builders struggle to secure land, building materials and skilled labor, the situation could worsen. “The fact that demand is so high is actually a good sign of economic health,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “But that’s probably small comfort to buyers, especially first-time buyers that are having an especially difficult time finding entry-level homes for sale.”The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units last month.

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  • CBS Sacramento: California Lawmakers Looking For Ways To Close Affordable Housing Gap

    State lawmakers begin a month long recess Friday, but still on the agenda is an issue that affects every Californian—housing. There are dozens of housing bills on the table. Many seek to create more affordable homes. Many Democrats are still meeting behind the scenes to talk about getting more money—billions of new dollars—to house people on low income.“It’s been a long strange trip,” said Michael Verceli. A trip that’s taken Michael Verceli from the streets of Oakland to one of Northern California’s only affordable housing complexes for homeless and disabled veterans. And the former navy veteran doesn’t take it for granted. “There’s people clamoring to get in here,” he said. But the $55 million Mather Veteran’s Village isn’t done. The next phase is on hold. There’s just not enough money to finish it. And it’s not alone.

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  • LA Times: Op-Ed A better way to solve the housing crisis — tax land, not development

    To address Los Angeles’ housing crisis, Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed a “linkage fee” on new development. The city would charge new residential developments of more than five units $12 a square foot, and new commercial developments $5 a square foot, to finance subsidized affordable housing. This proposal is well-intentioned. Given our politics, and the realities of Proposition 13, it might be the best L.A. can do. But it won’t raise much money or build much housing, and it dodges rather than solves the fundamental problem in our housing policy. We should try for better. Linkage fees essentially tax new development, but housing in Los Angeles is expensive because L.A. doesn’t have much development. With little to tax, revenue would stay low, and so would affordable housing production.

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  • KPCC: How California is leading the way in affordable housing on tribal lands

    165565 fullThe Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, the country’s largest program for building and preserving affordable rental housing, was virtually inaccessible to California’s Native American tribes until a few years ago. “The way that affordable housing is built most effectively across the United States is by using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program,” said Elizabeth Glynn, CEO of Travois, a consulting firm that facilitates housing and economic development on reservations across the country. “California, unfortunately, has made it nearly impossible to access those credits.”

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  • Mercury News: Opinion: To end housing crisis, California needs to make it easier to build

    Dennis Williams, 62 and a mechanic by trade, lives in an RV with his wife, but he longs for a house of his own. Williams wants Palo Alto and other Bay Area cities to do more to help people find affordable housing. The least the city could do is set aside lots for RVs to park safely overnight, Williams said. (Kyle Adler / Daily News)After many years of fits and starts, the California State Legislature is expected to take action as early as today on a package of bills to address the State’s burgeoning housing crisis.  The time for action couldn’t be more critical.  Failure should not be an option. For years, housing production in California has fallen short of the need.  According to the State’s own housing department, California built an average of 80,000 homes each year over the past decade— less than half of the 180,000 new homes needed annually to respond to population growth.

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  • San Francisco Chronicle: California lawmakers must attack housing crisis

    The fire that destroyed a 196-unit apartment building nearing completion in Oakland this month. Photo: Jonathan Goody, Special To The ChronicleCalifornia’s housing emergency can be measured in many ways — its 78,000 unsheltered homeless, nearly half the nation’s total; the 180,000 additional units a year the state needs but has no apparent prospect of producing; the tensions over urban gentrification that some are blaming for a spate of East Bay apartment building arsons. But perhaps the most remarkable sign of the crisis is that the Legislature is at long last on the brink of doing something about it. State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill to rein in some of the worst antibuilding excesses of the state’s cities and towns survived its latest committee vote in the Assembly last week. Scores more housing-related measures are in the works, but Senate Bill 35 is the most relevant — and controversial — because it goes after the stubborn roots of the state’s daunting dwelling shortage.

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  • ABC News: San Diego mayor addresses soaring housing prices

    The situation for affordable housing in San Diego will grow even more dire by 2020, according to a report Thursday by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. East Village resident Sharri Moore rents a two-bedroom affordable housing unit in the Pinnacle high rise for $1,000, or less than half the going rate. She says competition for the rare affordable housing units places stress on renters.  “So you have maybe about 300 people for maybe 36 units,” Moore said. “When you do get that lottery that you’re qualified for [a unit], then it’s just like jumping over hurdles trying to keep the unit.”

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  • LA Daily News: In passing bill, California Legislature ignores housing problems

    Legislators showed they’re not concerned about California’s well-documented housing crisis by passing a bill last week that extends wealthy Marin County’s exemption from state housing rules and allows the county to continue to limit home building. Gov. Jerry Brown will show he doesn’t care either, if he signs it. The housing provision, inserted into Senate Bill 106 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, lets Marin County’s largest cities and incorporated areas maintain extra restrictions on how many homes developers can build through 2028. SB106 is one of those budget “trailer” bills, so it’s sneaky to boot — it didn’t have to go through the usual legislative committee process. Putting exceptions to affordable housing rules, which have nothing to do with the state budget, into a budget trailer bill at the 11th hour so that they sail through without even the usual legislative vetting is no way to run a transparent state government.

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