Senator Beall's $3 Billion Affordable Housing Bond Approved by Senate

June 01, 2016

SACRAMENTO – With bipartisan support, Senator Jim Beall’s proposed $3 billion Affordable Housing Bond to generate thousands of homes and apartments priced within the reach of California’s families as well as house thousands of homeless individuals was approved by the Senate today by a 28-9 vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly for consideration.

“Senate Bill 879 enables Californians to set down roots in their communities,’’ said Beall, the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. “By jump starting home construction, the bill will create jobs and stimulate the state economy. And the bond allows us to leverage federal tax incentives to attract developers.’’

The shortage of affordable housing has forced families to leave the California or live in less costly communities far from their work, often situated in expensive metropolitan areas. California is home to 21 of the 30 most expensive rental markets in the country.

“Housing affordability may be the single most pressing economic issue for middle- and working-class Californians today,’’ Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León said.  “I applaud Senator Beall for his leadership in crafting this thoughtful and timely proposal and I look forward to working with the Assembly and Governor to find the right solution.”

Said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium:  "California voters have seen the wisdom in investing in affordable homes, and their vote for Props. 1C and 46 were successful in lifting thousands of families out of poverty and creating jobs.  SB 879 gives voters the opportunity to renew these investments and at a time when the state’s housing affordability crisis is dragging down California’s economy. 

“We are proud to join President pro Tempore De León in support of Sen. Beall’s legislation and CHC’s affordable home developers are ready to leverage these vitally-needed dollars to bring billions of federal and private investment to California, create jobs, and build homes for families.”

Under SB 879, $3 billion in bonds would be issued to fund existing and successful affordable housing programs in the state for:

•    Multi-family Rental Housing -- $1.5 billion for housing construction, rehabilitation, or preservation of permanent and transitional rentals for lower-income households and the homeless through loans to local government and non- and for-profit developers.

•    Transit-Oriented Development -- $300 million for development programs, such as gap financing for rental housing developments that include affordable housing units, and as mortgage assistance for homeownership development. Grants would be available for municipalities and transit agencies to build the necessary infrastructure within close proximity to the transit station and for loans for the planning and development affordable housing within a quarter mile of the station. 

•    Infill Infrastructure Financing -- $300 million available to assist in the construction or rehabilitation of such things as water, sewer, and utility lines that support higher density affordable and mixed-income housing in locations designated as infill.

•    Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Program -- $300 million to finance the construction, rehabilitation, and acquisition of owner-occupied and rental units for agricultural workers, with a priority for lower income households.

•    Local Housing Trust Fund Matching Grant Program -- $300 million for matching grants for local governments and non-profits that raise money for affordable housing.

•    CalHome -- $300 million for grants to local public agencies and non-profit developers to assist individual households through deferred-payment loan programs.

California has seen a vast reduction in public funding devoted to affordable housing. The $6 billion in bond funds distributed through voter-approved Proposition 46 and Proposition 1C has been expended. Together, they had accounted for the creation of 183,000 units.

Senate Bill 879 is supported by many groups including the League of California Cities, the California Housing Consortium, the California Coalition for Rural Housing, and the California Housing Partnership Corporation. Also supporting the bill are the cities of San Jose, Santa Monica, and San Francisco.