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Newsroom

  • SF Examiner: Eye on the State: Leaders must find political will to fund housing, fight displacement

    State leaders have finally woken up to the affordable housing crisis raging throughout California. A slew of housing bills were introduced this year with different approaches to the problem. The governor and real estate companies sought deregulation of high-priced housing construction, while affordable housing and community advocates pushed for what families being priced out of neighborhoods need most urgently: funds to build more homes that low-income people can afford and removal of state constraints on local affordable housing and anti-displacement policies.

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  • US News: California Lawmakers Consider Spending Billions to Fix Housing

    Affordable housing advocates are closely watching a package of bills currently under consideration by California lawmakers that would invest billions of dollars in helping to alleviate the state’s severe housing crisis. For years, California residents have struggled to afford surging real estate and rental prices in many of the country’s most expensive housing markets. Nearly one-third of California renters pay more than 50 percent of their income toward rent. If passed, the bills would create a permanent $300 million-a-year fund for affordable housing, streamline the approval process for housing construction in cities and authorize a $3 billion bond for the 2018 ballot, the first housing bond in California for over a decade.

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  • LA Times: Why the Legislature probably can’t fix California’s affordable housing problem

    State lawmakers can pass all kinds of bills aimed at building more affordable housing. But they can’t repeal the fundamental law of supply and demand for desirable land. Land costs are what really drive up housing prices and make homeownership increasingly beyond the reach of so many Californians. Rentals are virtually impossible, too, in attractive regions along the coast, especially San Francisco. Land prices on the coast are among the highest in the nation. A residential acre in the average U.S. metropolitan area is valued at $20,000, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported two years ago. Along California’s urban coast, an average acre is worth more than $150,000.

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  • Affordable Housing Finance: Mercy Housing Closes First Deal With California Certificated Credits

    Construction is under way on the 180 West Beamer Street project in Woodland, Calif. The 80-unit development by Mercy Housing California is believed to be the first deal to close on financing that uses certificated state housing tax credits. Mercy Housing California has closed a deal to use “certificated” state housing credits on its latest affordable housing development. The transaction will help finance the development of the 180 West Beamer Street development in Woodland, Calif. The new 80-unit community will serve low-income families, with 32 units set aside for special-needs residents. The deal with investor U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. (USBCDC) is believed to be the first transaction using certificated credits to close in the state.

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  • SacBee: One key to affordable housing crisis? Pay construction workers a living wage.

    No amount of project streamlining can solve California’s housing affordability problem by itself. To lower prices, California needs to build a lot more housing. But to do that, it needs enough workers with the skills to do so safely and correctly. Prevailing wage standards, which function as a local minimum wage for skilled construction work, can help address these critical needs and improve the industry’s competitiveness in increasingly tight labor markets. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the number of builders reporting “some or serious” labor shortages grew from 21 percent in 2012 to 56 percent in 2016. More workers are choosing not to work in construction because it is no longer the gateway to the middle class.

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  • LAist: Op-Ed: California Must Pass Housing Legislation To Give Our Generation A Chance

    dusk_apartments.jpgLos Angeles County has one of the tightest housing markets in the country, and by some measures, the most inequitable. Economic growth and better urban infrastructure has made Los Angeles an attractive destination for job-seekers and immigrants, as well as wealthy foreign investors and traders looking for a stable place to re-invest American currency. But this increase in housing demand has not been matched by a commensurate increase in supply. As a result, prices have soared. Fully one-third of Angelenos fork over half their income for housing, as do more than 50 percent of the poorest among us.

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  • Vox: The real driver of regional inequality in America

    America in the Gilded Age was a starkly unequal place, not just in terms of inequality between people but inequality between regions. Long-settled, fast-industrializing states in the Northeast were far richer than those of the West or the South, which had many fewer factories, railroads, and other kinds of capital goods that allowed for productive work and high wages. But around 1880 that began to change, and for 100 years, income gaps between states slowly converged at a rate of about 1.8 percent per year.

    But since 1980, that process has began to slow, and over the past decade it’s essentially stopped entirely. Today, Massachusetts’s GDP per capita is about double what you find in Mississippi — roughly equivalent to the gap between Switzerland and Slovakia — and it’s not getting any narrower.

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  • LA Times: Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot

    County parks

    Californians could vote on billions of dollars in new spending for low-income housing developments and water and parks improvements next year. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects. The Legislature is likely to decide how much money would be borrowed and where it would be spent before it adjourns for the year in mid-September — a debate that legislative leaders say is pressing. “We know that housing is such a major crisis up and down the state of California,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said. “The issue of aging infrastructure goes hand in hand. We need to strike while the iron is hot.”

     

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  • CityLab: Severe Housing Needs May Return to Foreclosure-Crisis Levels

    A new report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this month shows that the number of American households facing worst-case housing scenarios is returning to the record crisis levels seen during the foreclosure crisis. The 2017 report on Worst-Case Housing Needs finds that 8.3 million households suffered extreme housing conditions in 2015, an increase of more than 580,000 households over 2013. HUD defines “worst-case housing needs” as very low–income households who do not receive government aid for housing and who pay more than one-half of their income toward rent or live in unsafe conditions (or both). CityLab’s Tanvi Misra plotted out where the worst-off families are living today. The country reached peak worst-case housing conditions in 2011, when the number of most-vulnerable families climbed to a record 8.48 million.

     

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  • Reason: Affordable Housing Regulations Crushing New Home Construction in L.A.

    Downtown Los AngelesWhen Los Angeles voters were considering Proposition JJJ—an initiative last year to mandate affordable housing requirements for new developments—critics from Habitat for Humanity to the Los Angeles Times warned that the measure would lead to less housing construction in one of America’s most expensive cities. Now that the law has passed and is in full effect, those warnings are being borne out. From March to June, developers submitted just 5,117 applications for new housing construction permits in the city, down from 9,226 for the same period last year, according to a study released by the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIA).

     

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