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Three League-Supported Housing Funding Bills Advance in Assembly

April 1, 2016
Three League-supported bills advanced in the Legislature on March 30 that would help fund and create much-needed affordable housing: AB 2734 (Atkins), AB 2817 (Chiu) and SB 873 (Beall).
All of the measures are consistent with the League’s long-standing policy of supporting additional state funding for affordable housing, and reflect efforts to fill the void created by the loss of redevelopment which previously provided approximately $1 billion annually for affordable housing.

League Legislative Representative Kendra Harris testified Wednesday morning in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, where she voiced strong support for Assembly Member Toni Atkins’ (D-San Diego) AB 2734 and Assembly Member David Chiu’s (D-San Francisco) AB 2817. Dan Carrigg, the League’s senior director for Legislative Affairs, also testified on Wednesday morning in the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance in support of Assembly Member Jim Beall’s (D-San Jose) SB 873.
In presenting AB 2734, which would dedicate a portion of state savings resulting from the elimination of redevelopment agencies to address local affordable housing needs, Assembly Member Atkins stressed that California has the lowest rate of homeownership nationally and six of the nation’s 11 most expensive rental housing markets. She remarked that California’s affordable housing crisis affects the economy. AB 2734 would dedicate $1 billion or 50 percent, which ever amount is greater, of any state savings from redevelopment elimination for these purposes.
The committee passed the bill, which now heads to the Assembly Committee on Local Government.
Assembly Member Chiu, chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Economic Development, drafted AB 2817 to increase the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $300 million. These funds would build and rehabilitate affordable housing and increase the amount of funding for farmworker housing. The committee chair’s remarks focused on the need to fix California’s affordable housing crisis. AB 2817 is similar to AB 35 of 2015, which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed even though it had widespread legislative support.
Harris testified that the League supports AB 2817 because increasing available state tax credits for low-income housing is an important step to reassemble the state’s affordable housing streams. Through these credits, additional federal tax credits and tax exempt bond authority would be leveraged to help build additional housing units.
The committee passed the bill, which now heads to the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation.
SB 873 would help expand the effectiveness of existing housing tax credits by broadening the pool of eligible purchasers that would make them more marketable and generate additional funds for affordable housing projects.
The committee passed the bill, which now heads to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
California’s affordable housing crisis has reached epic proportions with the nation’s lowest percentage of homeowners and highest percentage of homeless residents. In fact, Beacon economist Christopher Thornberg reports that California needs upwards of 1 million more residential units to reach national norms for housing stock for its population. California cities are on the front lines of this crisis and the issue has grown to such a level that the League this year made affordable housing and addressing homelessness one of the organization’s top three policy priorities.
Next Steps
Cities are encouraged to support these helpful measures. Sample letters are available on the League website at www.cacities.org/billsearch. Plug in the bill number to access the sample letter as well as the League’s letter.

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