Source: Sacramento Bee

Published Thursday, October 5, 2017 9:00 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a robust package of housing legislation aimed at addressing California’s unprecedented affordability crisis. “These new laws will help cut red tape and encourage more affordable housing, including shelter for the growing number of homeless in California,” Brown said in a statement.

Making sense of the story:

  • SB 2, Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego: Imposes a new $75 to $225 fee on real estate transactions. Estimated to generate $250 to $300 million per year to fund affordable housing development, programs to assist homeless people and long-range development planning in cities and counties. For 2018, revenue would be split equally between the state and local government. The state share is specifically aimed at combating homelessness. It’s available for rental assistance, homeless navigation centers and development of housing for homeless people.
  • SB 3, Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose: Will put a $4 billion housing bond before voters in November 2018. If approved, $1 billion would go to the CalVet home loan program, established in 1921 to help military veterans purchase homes. The remaining $3 billion would help fund low-income housing projects and development near jobs and public transportation.
  • SB 35, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco: Lets developers bypass the lengthy and often expensive review process for new housing development, which includes extensive environmental analysis and public hearings. If a community has not built enough housing – state law outlines the housing needs, at all income levels, for each city and county in California – developers can bring forth a project without undergoing the process. It mandates higher construction worker pay and benefits on projects with 10 units or more.
  • SB 166, Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley: Requires local government to have development sites identified, at all times, for all unmet housing needs, from very low-income to market-rate. It also seeks to strengthen state housing law that in most cases prevents cities and counties from reducing zoning densities to ensure there is “no net loss” of building capacity.
  • SB 167, Skinner, and Assembly Bill 678, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles: Strengthens the state’s Housing Accountability Act, which seeks to prevent communities from killing proposed housing projects or homeless shelters. The law aims to make it more difficult for cities and counties to vote down proposals and requires courts to impose fines on them if they do not comply with what is commonly called the “anti-NIMBY law.” 

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