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Take Action to Support Legislation that Funds Affordable Housing

Cities Urged to Send Letters on SB 2 and SB 3

February 3, 2017
Two pending Senate bills create much-needed funds for affordable housing and cities are encouraged to submit support letters in advance of committee hearings in early March.
SB 2 (Atkins) establishes a permanent source of funding. SB 3 (Beall) is a $3 billon general obligation bond for affordable housing programs and infill infrastructure projects. The League has prepared sample letters on both measures that cities can use to tailor using their local examples.
Cities are eager to help spur the development of new affordable housing units but lack resources. Few sources remain to fund affordable housing in California with redevelopment eliminated and state housing bonds exhausted. Gov. Jerry Brown in his proposed FY 2017-18 budget did not include money for affordable housing. The Senate through these bills is looking to help fill the gap. While funds generated through SB 2 and SB 3 would not make up for the $1 billion annually generated for affordable housing through redevelopment agencies, these bills do provide the first meaningful source of funding since the state ended redevelopment in 2011.
SB 2
The Building Homes and Jobs Act establishes a permanent source of funding for affordable rental or ownership housing, supportive housing, emergency shelters, transitional housing and other housing needs through a $75 recordation fee on real estate documents. The fee is estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Similar to Sen. Toni Atkins’ (D-San Diego) 2015 bill, AB 1335, SB 2 adds two new uses for the fee-generated funds: local community plan updates and fiscal incentives for local governments to approve new housing for low-income families.
SB 2 allocates 50 percent of the proceeds from the fee to local governments to be used to address housing needs at the local level. It will also help leverage additional federal, local and private investment in affordable housing, including nontraditional funding sources such as tax increment and innovative preventive services.
SB 3
The Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 authorizes a $3 billion general obligation bond to fund existing and highly successful affordable housing programs and infrastructure projects.
Sen. Jim Beall’s (D-San Jose) measure is similar to Proposition 1C (2006) and allocates funds to the same programs as the now-exhausted housing bond did, including:
  • The Multifamily Housing Program;
  • Transit oriented development;
  • Infill infrastructure financing;
  • Building Equity and Growth in Neighborhoods (BEGIN);
  • Local Housing Trust matching grant;
  • CalHome; and
  • Joe Serna Farmworker Housing. 
Bond proceeds will help with housing for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless, low-income workers and create homeownership opportunities for California’s low- and moderate-income earners.
Next Steps
Neither SB 2 nor SB 3 have been given a hearing date yet, but both will go before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee in early March. Cities are encouraged to submit support letters on both measures to members of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee as well as their own legislators.
Committee members are listed online.
Action alerts for SB 2 and SB 3 are available on the League’s Take Action Center. Cities can submit letters directly through this tool.
Sample letters are also available to use on the League’s website.

© League of California Cities