June 4, 2015

Contact: Mike Roth, 916.444.7170

 State Affordable Home Investment Gains Bipartisan Support in Assembly
AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins), AB 90 (Chau), AB 1056 (Atkins) now head to Senate

Sacramento, CA – Legislation that would begin to restore crucial state investment in affordable home construction and create jobs passed the California Assembly with bipartisan support today. AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins), AB 90 (Chau), AB 1056 (Atkins) are among the package of legislation championed by Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to tackle California’s growing housing affordability crisis.

“This critical state investment represents the opportunity to construct thousands of additional new affordable homes.  California’s local governments and builders anxiously await the State Senate’s passage and Governor Brown’s signature on these bills to break ground on shovel-ready developments throughout the state,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium. “Bipartisan support for affordable housing investment reflects the strong connection between housing affordability and a healthy business climate in California.”

State investment in affordable home development has plummeted from $1.5 billion annually in 2007 to nearly zero while the shortage of affordable places to live has reached crisis level.   Currently, California’s families suffer from a shortfall of 1.5 million affordable homes, driving rents sky-high across the state and impeding California’s businesses’ ability to compete for talent. Research from the California Housing Partnership shows that housing costs are driving California’s poverty levels higher. When housing costs are taken into account, nearly one in four Californians lives below the poverty line, the highest poverty rate in the nation.

“A shortage of affordable homes is driving Californians into poverty. AB 35, AB 90, and AB 1056 will enable California to move forward on building affordable places to live for our state’s workforce, families, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities and people at risk of homelessness,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California. “The Speaker’s package of affordable home finance legislation represents the comprehensive approach California needs to close the gap between supply and demand of affordable places to live.”

“The Assembly’s bipartisan passage of AB 35 today is an indicator of the Legislature’s commitment to encourage greater public-private investment in the production of affordable homes for California’s lowest income families and seniors,” said Matt Schwartz, Executive Director of the California Housing Partnership.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ package of affordable homes legislation, which also includes AB 1335, will generate billions of dollars in federal and private investment in California annually and create tens of thousands of affordable homes each year. With current public investment hitting a historic low, Speaker Atkins’ package of bills would begin to replace the $1.5 billion in state affordable home financing lost as redevelopment was eliminated and voter-approved bonds from Props. 46 and 1C have been extinguished. State seed money opens the door to billions of federal and private dollars invested in California affordable homes and jobs, so shovel-ready projects can move forward.

AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins) would increase the percentage of funding a nonprofit developer could use from state tax credits from the current 13% to 50%. It will also help remove the biggest barrier to starting construction on shovel-ready affordable home developments by expanding the successful State Housing Tax Credit by $300 million annually. This in turn would enable affordable home developers to access an additional $600 million in federal funds.

AB 90 (Chau) creates a framework for how California will spend funds received from the National Housing Trust Fund, which (with the recent lift of the suspension that prevented funding of the trust fund) are expected to begin flowing to California in 2016.

AB 1056 (Atkins) targets 33 percent of the budget savings under Proposition 47 for use in a Rapid Re-housing Program aimed at helping house formerly incarcerated persons who suffer from mental health or substance use issues.

The California Housing Consortium is a non-partisan advocate for the production and preservation of housing affordable to lower and moderate income Californians. CHC’s vision is a safe, affordable place to call home for every Californian

Housing California is the voice in the state Capitol for children, seniors, families, people experiencing homelessness, and everyone who needs a safe, stable affordable place to call home.