By Vanguard Staff
Sacramento, CA – In March, a state audit report found that the state has failed to act effectively to produce affordable housing necessary to alleviate the state’s housing crisis.
“The rapid creation of affordable housing is critical because more than 1.4 million low-income California renter households lack access to affordable housing,” Tilden wrote in a letter Tuesday to the governor and other state leaders.
Acting State Auditor Michael Tilden in a letter this week to the Governor and leaders of the legislature wrote, “Although we found that the executive order has proven effective in its intent, and we estimate that it could ultimately make way for more than 32,000 housing units, our evidence shows that DGS could accelerate the process by which it makes properties available.”
Following that report, Senator Bill Dodd on Tuesday announced legislation that would assist the creation of affordable housing in California by identifying excess state property that could be used for development, advancing earlier initiatives from Governor Gavin Newsom to address the state housing crisis.
“The rapid creation of affordable housing is vital to Californians, who are experiencing increased homelessness and instability because of extreme prices,” Senator Dodd said. “To accelerate construction of these much-needed units, we must continue to prioritize the use of excess state land. My bill will ensure we continue to identify which properties are available and get these projects going as economically and efficiently as possible.”
The state’s need for affordable housing is significantly outpacing its production, which is negatively affecting Californians. According to a report from the California Housing Partnership, 1.4 million low‑income California households lacked access to affordable housing last year. Despite California’s need for affordable housing, the state has annually fallen 100,000 units short on its affordable housing creation goals for many years.
Governor Newsom made progress with his 2019 executive order that first called for the use of surplus state land for affordable housing. On his order, the Department of General Services reviewed 44,000 state properties and found 92 of them suitable for affordable housing. However, as of March of this year, only 19 of the properties have been offered by the department for development. A recent California State Auditor report found that process could be accelerated.
SB 561 would speed development, codifying the governor’s order and requiring transparency and reporting on the long-term leasing of surplus land to the Legislature. In addition, it would incorporate key recommendations from the State Auditor’s report to facilitate the identification of additional excess state property and the ultimate creation of more affordable housing.