Major Anti-Poverty and Environmental Justice Groups Endorse SB 50

SB 50 picked up new endorsements from anti-poverty group United Ways of California and environmental justice group Coalition for Clean Air

(From Press Release – Senator Wiener)  – Senate Bill 50, Senator Scott Wiener’s (D- San Francisco) zoning reform bill, gathered key endorsements this week from groups United Ways of California and the Coalition for Clean Air. With new amendments providing local flexibility for cities to devise their own plans to build more housing, the bill is gaining momentum as it faces a deadline to pass the Senate by January 31st.

The bill was also amended to strengthen its protections against displacement and gentrification, and will now ensure that at least 40% of affordable housing built under SB 50 will go to individuals who live in the area.

These new endorsements indicate the growing grassroots movement behind SB 50, which would address California’s 3.5 million home shortage by reforming zoning statewide and building more housing – legalizing affordable housing and apartments. SB 50 has a broad base of support, with 60-66% of people across the state polling in favor of the bill.

United Ways of California explained their endorsement of SB 50:

“The affordable housing crisis in California forecloses opportunity for too many working families and threatens our future. More than 4 in 10 California families are housing burdened, spending more than 30% or more of their income to keep a roof over their heads, and as our Real Cost Measure report shows, in too many neighborhoods, struggling families spend as much as 75 cents of every dollar on housing. Every extra dollar families spend on housing means less for providing their children the nutrition, educational enrichment, and other resources they need to sustain themselves. SB 50 incentivizes local communities to develop more affordable housing, especially near their places of employment that we know will help working families secure and maintain housing. Senator Wiener’s SB 50 has the support of United Ways of California and our members across the state to increase affordable housing stock and prioritize anti-displacement programs to help stabilize vulnerable communities, and all Californians concerned with rising rent costs. Instead of the very real fear of falling into homelessness, families should be able to live, work, learn, and play in communities they call home.”

The Coalition for Clean Air, an environmental justice group, wrote a letter of support detailing their endorsement of SB 50. They said the following:  “Requiring denser housing near transit,
including low-income housing, will encourage transit ridership and promote environmental sustainability and fair, non-discriminatory housing policy. SB 50 is key to a more equitable, affordable, and sustainable California.”

Senator Scott Wiener, the bill’s author, said:  “I’m thrilled to see SB 50 gaining momentum with these new endorsements, confirming what we already know: this bill would be a boon for affordable housing and would help California dramatically reduce its carbon emissions. The United Ways of California’s and the Coalition for Clean Air’s endorsements reaffirm the ways in which the bill will help address such pressing issues as homelessness, poverty and climate change.

“The United Ways of California’s work impacts so many people by helping them get out of the cycle of poverty. Our housing crisis is deeply intertwined with our homelessness and poverty epidemics in California, and I’m glad to have United Way’s leadership on this issue.

“There is a consensus building in favor of SB 50 from important stakeholders. I look forward to sharing more endorsements in the coming days.”

* * *

SB 50 contains strong renter protections and anti-demolition restrictions. Additionally, up to 25% of new homes must be affordable to low income residents, in addition to opening up dramatically more land for 100% affordable housing development. Sensitive communities at risk of gentrification and displacement, under SB 50, will have a 5-year delayed implementation to determine how best to build more housing in their neighborhoods in a way that will protect residents.

SB 50 is supported by a broad coalition of affordable housing, environmental, housing equity, anti-poverty, environmental justice, student, labor, and senior organizations, including: Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, United Ways of California, Habitat for Humanity,  Coalition for Clean Air, California Community Economic Development Association, Pacoima Beautiful, Clinica Monseñor, Local Initiatives Support Corporation San Diego, the Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition, AARP, UC Students Association, California Labor Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, California League of Conservation Voters (support in concept), and the California League of Women Voters.

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