The Vanguard had a good discussion Thursday night on affordable housing with Lucas Frerichs, Lisa Baker, and Matt Dulcich. Thanks to Davis Media Access, the forum was recorded and should be available for streaming some time next week. Meanwhile, our second event is set for April 18 from 7 to 9 pm, panel to be announced shortly.
In the meantime the California Housing Partnership came out with a new report on Thursday that found, despite recent gains, California still needs 1.4 million more affordable rental units.
They had six key findings:
First, “Low Income Housing Tax Credit housing production in California declined by 23% overall from 2016 due to federal tax reform.”
Second, “While overall multifamily development increased significantly over the last ten years, production of affordable homes has stagnated.”
Third, “Renters need to earn 3.6 times the State minimum wage to afford the median asking rent of $2,225, an increase from 3.5 times in 2018.”
Fourth, “The State spends nearly 14 times more on homeowners than on renters.”
Fifth, “Despite the passage of the 2017 Housing Package, State funding remains well below 2012 levels, undermining progress in addressing homelessness.”
The report also develops four ways that state leaders can help improve the situation:
- Replace Redevelopment funding for affordable housing with at least $1 billion annually to help local governments meet their State-mandated production goals.
- Expand the State’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program by $500 million per year to jump-start affordable housing production and preservation.
- Create a new California capital gains tax credit to preserve existing affordable housing at risk of conversion and to fight displacement pressures in Opportunity Zones.
- Reduce the threshold for voter approval of local funding of affordable housing and infrastructure from 67% to 55% as was done for educational facilities in 2000.
According to a report in the Bee, while the state legislature in recent years has passed a host of bills that would expedite construction and subsidize the building of affordable housing, those efforts thus far have not made a lot of headway.
Matt Schwartz, president of the California Housing Partnership, told the Bee that the report underscores just how much further the state must go if it wishes to solve its affordable housing crisis.
The governor, in his few months since being sworn in, has prioritized housing issues. He set a lofty goal of 3.5 million new homes, which he hopes will add to the supply and reduce market rate costs. In addition, he has threatened to withhold road repair funds from those cities that lag in their affordable housing goal.
But Mr. Schwartz argues that the governor’s plans don’t go far enough if he wishes to help low income renters.
“We welcome the governor’s initiatives to expand overall market production,” Mr. Schwartz told the Bee. “But the point this report makes is you can’t forget about the people who won’t be able to afford that housing.”
Meanwhile, the governor’s office disagrees. Tia Boatman Patterson told the Bee that the “the governor’s proposal includes tax credits to help low-income Californians, as well as to spur construction of mixed-income housing. Newsom’s proposals aim to create affordable housing for all income levels, she said, and is intended to complement the laws passed in 2017.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about supply and building of housing,” she said. “There’s not enough resources to fund our way out of this.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting