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Newsroom

  • LA Times: Ahead of final week, California lawmakers change bills to garner support for housing package

    Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)A package of bills to address California’s housing affordability crisis inched forward late last week ahead of a do-or-die week in the Legislature. Lawmakers introduced or changed two bills aimed at attracting support for key parts of the housing package from wary colleagues and Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would charge a $75 fee on mortgage refinances and other real estate transactions other than home sales and use the estimated $250 million raised a year to help finance low-income housing construction. But Atkins has struggled to secure the two-thirds supermajority vote of the Assembly needed. No Democrats in the Assembly can vote against the measure for it to pass.

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  • OCR: Meet YIMBY: Pro-development groups join the battle in California housing wars

    0910_nws_ocr-l-realyimbypic3-043_24457547Governing bodies take their seats on raised platforms as a parade of angry citizens lambast the latest homebuilding proposal, worried about traffic, schools, crime and property values. The developers, they say, are greedy bloodsuckers. The residents, developers say, are NIMBYs — happy to see new shopping centers, apartment blocks and housing tracts, so long as they’re “not in my backyard.” Now, there’s a new player in this well-worn battleground: YIMBYs. These are pro-housing, mostly young urban dwellers willing to say “yes in my backyard” to residential development of all types, including subsidized housing for the poor and for-profit housing for the well-to-do.

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  • Santa Cruz Sentinel: Mark Beach: SB 2 is an important step forward

    It’s no secret that California is facing a housing affordability crisis that’s getting worse by the day. Every year, our state falls another 100,000 homes short of what’s needed to keep up with demand and stabilize the cost of housing. According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), 31 percent of mortgaged homeowners and 46 percent of renters spend more than 35 percent of their income on housing — compared with 22 percent and 41 percent, respectively, nationwide. And while California’s 38 million residents represent 12 percent of the nation’s population overall, our state’s eight million homeless residents make up 22 percent of the nation’s homeless. While the cost of housing is especially high in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, this is an issue faced by the vast majority of Californians, causing many to consider leaving the state altogether when they retire.

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  • California Economic Summit: California’s housing crisis in two charts

    Much has been written, said, and tweeted about California’s housing crisis. And if you’re lucky, you got to hear CA Fwd’s president and CEO, Jim Mayer, speaking with insight into the crisis in a “big picture” presentation at the San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit on Thursday. How’s does it look for struggling Californians? One of the quickest ways to show the depth of the problem is to compare rent and income levels.

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  • SF Chronicle: Editorial: California legislators almost out of time on housing

    A homeless camp in Oakland. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The ChronicleWith a little more than a week of legislating left in the year, Sacramento’s belated answer to the housing crisis is taking shape with all the speed and certainty of a California apartment complex — that is, virtually none. This Legislature’s most prominent successful housing measure to date exempted Marin County from density standards, effectively enabling the parochial obstructionism at the heart of the shortage. Last week, however, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders agreed on a package of bills to ease residential development and increase funding for affordable-housing programs, including a ballot measure (SB3) to authorize a $4 billion bond issue. But voting was called off Friday amid doubts about the Democrats’ ability to muster the two-thirds support needed for the other key funding bill (SB2), which would raise more than $200 million a year by imposing fees of $75 to $225 on real estate transactions.

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  • Mercury: Affordable housing crisis: Can Sacramento get it under control?

    This house in Novato, in Marin County, sold for $1,475,000.(Courtesy: www.google.com/maps)As home prices and rents soar to unthinkable levels, California lawmakers are working furiously to drum up the votes for a package of bills they hope will help contain the spiraling affordable housing crisis. With less than two weeks left in the legislative session — as lawmakers scramble to pass hundreds of bills dealing with everything from prescription drug prices to immigration enforcement — a vote on the housing package is coming down to the wire. But as of Tuesday afternoon, the only bill that would create a permanent funding source for affordable housing, Senate Bill 2, was still short of the votes it needs to pass.

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  • LA Times: Don’t let California’s housing crisis get worse. Lawmakers need to act on these bills

    California’s housing crisis is eroding the quality of life in the Golden State. Rising rents and house prices are forcing Californians to spend more of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads. Among renters, 1 in 3 pays more than half his income to his landlord, leaving little money for food, transportation and other essentials, much less for savings. Too many residents are one unexpected expense or rent increase away from homelessness.

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  • SacBee: Don’t let special interests exploit California’s housing crisis

    People of all ages, colors and socio-economic backgrounds are suffering from the low supply of new housing, which is leading to increased poverty and homelessness throughout California. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says California must add 100,000 units a year – more than double the current pace – to alleviate home prices and rents. We applaud the Legislature’s leadership for putting together a broad package of legislation that includes dedicated funding for housing for low-income households. But effective reform must also include the California Environmental Quality Act that is abused to block market-rate and subsidized housing projects.

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  • SacBee: Democratic leaders, Jerry Brown agree on package to spur housing

    Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have reached a deal on a trio housing bills expected to spur new construction across the state and begin digging California out of an unprecedented housing shortage that has led to soaring rents, mass evictions and a homeownership rate at its lowest point since World War II. The bills – controversial measures that have been the subject of intense negotiations for weeks – serve as the backbone of a broader housing package aimed at speeding up the development process, easing land-use regulations and generating billions of dollars for affordable housing and homelessness assistance.

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  • KPCC: Why SoCal is at a tipping point in its housing affordability crisis

    The housing affordability crisis in LA is worsening, and many experts say building new homes is not enough. Paying affordable rent, let alone homeownership, has become an elusive dream for many trying to survive Southern California’s housing market. Seven decades ago, California home prices weren’t that different from the rest of the country’s. But the building supply has not kept up with population growth, driving housing prices through the roof. Young adults like Joshua Baum can’t fathom owning a home unless he gets help from his parents.

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