Special to the Vanguard
Sacramento, CA – After weeks of negotiations, legislative leaders announced that they have reached an agreement on a package of legislation aimed at increasing California’s housing supply.
The agreement centers around SB 6, the Middle-Class Housing Act, by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) and AB 2011, the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act, by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), both of which are bills that focus on streamlining housing production in commercial zones.
SB 6 would spur the creation of housing in existing commercial and retail space, and help make homeownership more attainable for working families. AB 2011 would accelerate production of millions of affordable and mixed-income housing along transit-friendly commercial corridors.
“California desperately needs more housing, especially housing that is affordable for lower- and middle-income families – SB 6 and AB 2011 will help fulfill that need,” said Senator Pro Tem Toni Atkins. “This is a monumental legislative agreement, and one of the most significant efforts to streamline and amplify housing production in decades.”
By concentrating housing closer to city centers, near jobs, transit, and services, both AB 2011 and SB 6 would make a meaningful contribution to California’s efforts to fight climate change.
“The best legislative achievements—like this one—only come when you see negotiations as a non-zero-sum game. We didn’t go into this to have one side win at the expense of another. As a result, we have a housing victory that checks off a lot of the boxes—affordability, mixed-use, transit accessibility and labor security,” said Speaker Rendon.
The state will need an estimated 2.5 million new housing units over the next eight years, with more than a million units of those needing to be affordable for lower-income households, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s 2022 Statewide Housing Plan.
“The bottom line is these bills are transformational for working families in California seeking housing,” said Senator Caballero, Chair of Senate Governance and Finance. “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Assemblywoman Wicks, a tireless advocate for housing in California. Coupled with historic state investments, including $500 million to help working families achieve the California Dream of homeownership, I believe both of these bills will make tremendous progress to help families in California have a place to call home.”
Working in tandem, the bills are anticipated to increase housing production efficiencies across California, while strengthening labor standards and growing the workforce that will build that housing for years to come.
“These bills will change the trajectory of California’s housing crisis,” said Assemblymember Wicks, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. “The impact will be historic—no longer will lack of land be an issue for housing production. No longer will there be a lack of incentive for workers to join the construction workforce. And, no longer will red tape and bureaucracy prohibit us from building housing in the right locations to address our climate crisis.”
Negotiations were led by Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), who was instrumental in efforts to arrive at a compromise that will ultimately open the door to more housing in California.
“The housing crisis is one of the greatest in our state’s history. SB 6 and AB 2011 represent the bold and decisive action this state and our communities need,” McGuire said. “This historic agreement represents a one-two punch that will expedite the buildout of thousands of homes in all corners of the Golden State in the years to come. We are all grateful for the tenacious work of Pro Tem Atkins and Speaker Rendon on this critical issue—we wouldn’t be here without their leadership.”
The agreement also is supported by the NorCal Carpenters Union, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which represent hundreds of thousands of workers.
“AB 2011 will raise the wages and improve the working conditions for tens of thousands of low-wage construction workers, level the competitive playing field for all law-abiding contractors, union and non-union, and break the housing construction log-jam,” said Jay Bradshaw, Executive Officer, NorCal Carpenters Union. “It’s time to get to work building the millions of new homes California needs, particularly affordable workforce housing.”
“Standing strong for working families is our top priority and we can’t do that without building housing for the middle class,” said Andrew Meredith, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “SB 6 is the culmination of years of work, and is a game changer for working families to achieve the American Dream and it will protect workers from exploitation. As we’ve said all along, our members and apprentices are ready and prepared to build us out of the housing crisis. Let’s get SB 6 done and finally start building.”
“This housing package will rebuild our communities with affordable housing and guarantee decent wages and middle-class careers for the young local workers that will be put to work,” said Pete Rodriguez, Executive Officer, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.