$5 Billion Senate Housing Proposal to Fund Affordable Housing and Help the Homeless Passes First Test

May 16, 2018

SACRAMENTO -- A new Senate housing proposal to invest $5 billion to increase affordable home building and housing for people who are homeless will also create thousands of  jobs to bolster California’s economy, said Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) who drafted the budget proposal with Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

Beall and several senators spoke to reporters today following the approval of the 2018-2019 Senate Affordable Housing and Homelessness Proposal by a Senate Budget and Fiscal Review subcommittee. The proposal is supported by Senate President Toni Atkins. The proposal, designed to be spread out over four years, utilize one-time revenue and funding from Senate Bill 2 (Atkins).

“At a time when our treasury is flush with cash, it would be unconscionable not to take advantage of it to house the growing numbers of seniors, families, and people with untreated mental illnesses who spend night after night on the streets,’’ Beall said.

Beall pointed out the Senate proposal will backfill the $540 million in lost federal tax credits that have historically assisted the state to build housing for low-income earners.

Using one-time revenues for housing would result in about 34,000 new homes and rehabilitated affordable homes; 94,000 jobs; and $16 billion in economic activity, according estimates by the California Housing Partnership Corporation.

Said Cesar Diaz, Legislative Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council:  “The Senate’s housing proposal is critical to improving the lives of working families. This investment will generate thousands of jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for Californians who will build these projects and address the need for workforce housing.”

“Let’s remember,’’ Beall said during the news conference, “when we generate homes . . . we are building California’s economy for everybody.’’

Besides creating homes by investing in existing state programs with solid records of creating housing, the proposal provides quick action to help the homelessness. But it also includes long-term solutions by funding supportive services and care supports for homeless MediCal beneficiaries.

“The Senate housing and homelessness budget proposal – the largest in state history – is the bold response Californians have been waiting for,” said Housing California Executive Director Lisa Hershey.

“Its magnitude demonstrates the state is ready, with both immediate and long-term solutions, to finally end the crisis for the one in three families who struggle to afford their rent and the 134,000 Californians who are homeless right now. Stable, affordable housing is the solution to homelessness, and brings with it economic security, educational opportunities, and better health outcomes. It is the key component we need to restore the California dream.”