by Robert J. Hansen
A Constitutional amendment was introduced in the California legislature yesterday that would create an account that 5 percent of General Funds tax revenue would be transferred to for ten years to address housing and homelessness.
ACA 14, the Housing Opportunities for Everyone (HOPE) Act, is a Constitutional amendment establishing a long-term funding stream for solving California’s housing and homelessness crisis according to its author, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.
“Homelessness is the moral crisis of our time,” Wicks said on Twitter. “Solving it is a moral imperative.”
Berkeley architect Alfred Twu said ACA 14 is one of this year’s biggest housing bills and would set aside $10 billion in housing funding each year.
“Enough to house 50,000 people who are homeless and build an additional 40,000 affordable housing units each year,” Twu said.
In the current market, 2.2 million extremely low income and very low income renter households are competing for 664,000 affordable rental units according to the bill.
Of the six million renter households in the state, 1.7 million are paying more than 50 percent of their income toward rent.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the state needs an additional 1.5 million housing units affordable to very low income Californians.
Wicks said California voters consistently rank housing and homelessness as top issues we need to resolve,” Wicks said.
She said Governor Gavin Newsom has demonstrated unprecedented leadership in responding to this call.
“Now, it’s the Legislature’s turn to take bold and ongoing action to commit the resources needed to solve them,” Wicks said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf applauded the authors of ACA 14 for proposing a consistent funding stream to address California’s greatest challenges; homelessness and the lack of affordable housing.
“The HOPE Act is a decade-long commitment that delivers solutions without raising taxes,” Schaaf said.
If ACA 14 passes in the legislature it will be on the November ballot for California voters to decide on.