PRESS RELEASE: State Senator Jim Beall Advocates for Budget to Provide More Affordable Housing in the midst of COVID-19
State Senator Jim Beall Advocates for Budget to Provide More Affordable Housing in the midst of COVID-19
California is in unchartered waters. Together we are working to bend the curve and stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Newsom has continued to lead and prepare California for the unknown and the very worst.
These unprecedented times call for urgent action to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Keeping people in their homes and building more affordable housing must be at the top of our priority list.
COVID-19 is illuminating what we already knew: there is a dramatic shortfall of 1.5 million units of affordable housing. With unemployment rates skyrocketing, more and more Californians are facing housing insecurity. While rent moratoriums provide a short-term reprieve, once they are lifted, an even greater number of families will face homelessness.
We cannot expect cities to manage the homeless crisis in silos with no financial certainty from one year to the next. Despite best efforts before COVID-19, in San Jose for every one person, we house three more face homelessness. It is time to develop smarter and more strategic long-term housing solutions. We must include deliberate investments that prioritize the construction of affordable housing. One-time emergency funding for the pandemic is not enough to address the housing crisis that existed long before COVID-19 struck. To truly address the housing crisis, we must look beyond another one-time investment to shelter those on our city streets. Instead, it is time to bend the curve of homelessness and work together with the state, counties, and cities to implement a long-term solution that will build the 1.5 million units of affordable housing California families need.
We introduced SB 795 to recreate a sustainable state fund source, with the sole purpose of tackling the current affordable housing crisis and help California’s most vulnerable families. The bill provides the mechanism to quickly distribute funds and creates new jobs while providing strong accountability to ensure the funds are used effectively. With the input of my colleagues in the Legislature and mayors and local leaders across the state, we can amend this bill further to meet our current and future needs.
An on-going investment in housing production will be difficult in today’s fiscal climate. But we can’t continue to operate business as usual. We must prioritize programs that are essential and serve our most vulnerable. We need to pass a stimulus measure to boost our economy and get people back to work. SB 795 provides that boost. An independent fiscal analysis of a previous iteration of SB 795 estimated that the bill will generate 329,000 jobs, more than $60 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in additional state and local tax revenue over a 10-year span.
I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor to develop a budget that continues to deal with the crisis at hand and invests in long-term solutions to address our stubborn housing issues.
Andrea Bonilla - Communications Director