State lawmakers placed this $4 billion housing bond on the ballot as part of last year’s legislative push on affordable housing. If passed, the state will issue bonds to fund an array of affordable housing strategies. The largest portion of funding ($1.5 billion) would go to the state’s Multifamily Housing Program, which funds construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing targeted at low-income households, while the next largest portion of funding ($1 billion) would fund home purchase programs for veterans. Several other programs round out the remaining $1.5 billion, including affordable housing for farmworkers ($300 million), affordable homeownership programs ($300 million), and affordable transit-oriented development ($150 million).
The bond comes at a time of staggering need statewide. Last year, just over 1.6 million households were paying over half of their monthly income on rent, while another 134,000 Californians were homeless. In spite of this slowly unfolding statewide crisis, Sacramento legislators have been largely absent from the picture. California hasn’t approved a major housing bond since 2006, when voters approved Proposition 1C, which provided $2.85 billion for affordable housing. All of that was spent many years ago. Another major housing bond is tied up in litigation (see Prop 2). The State also removed the primary source of affordable housing funding statewide in 2012, when Governor Brown and the state legislature eliminated local redevelopment agencies, which provided the seed money for most new affordable housing. New funding has come along in recent years, such as the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, which uses the proceeds of carbon credit auctions, but none of these new sources has come close to replacing the loss of redevelopment agencies.
Investment in affordable housing creates jobs and provides local benefits. Proposition 1 will not only provide affordable homes for Californians, it will create more than 130,000 jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California’s economy. The one-year impact of building 100 rental apartments is estimated by the authors to include $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 161 local jobs (or 1.62 jobs per apartment unit). The recurring annual impact of constructing 100 rental apartments reaches $2.6 million in local income, $503,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 44 local jobs or 0.44 jobs per apartment.
There are few issues more pressing in California than housing, which continues to drive inequality in stark ways. Homeowners continue to reap the benefits of sky-high land values, while low-income renters scrape by, with millions at risk of homelessness.
LA Forward supports Prop 1 to ensure the state government is part of the solution to California’s housing crisis.
California Housing Consortium
California Chamber of Commerce California Democratic Party
California Housing Partnership
California Labor Federation
California State Association of Counties
Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)
Downtown Women’s Center
East Bay Housing Organizations
East LA Community Corporation
Enterprise Community Partners
Inner City Law Center
LA Voice (PICO California)
League of California Cities
League of Women Voters California
Little Tokyo Service Center
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), California
NAMI South Bay
National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter
Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission
Safe Place for Youth
San Diego Housing Federation
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California
Skid Row Housing Trust
Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing (SCANPH)
The South Bay Coalition to End Homelessness (LA County)
Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and Services (WORKS)
There’s no campaign to defeat Prop 1. However, 21 out of 25 Republican Assemblymembers voted against putting it on the ballot.