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Sens. McGuire and Beall announce 'affordable housing legislation' for 2019

LEFT: Senator Mike McGuire, 2nd District of California; RIGHT: Senator Jim Beall, 15th District of California

Senators Jim Beall and Mike McGuire have been working for months to develop comprehensive policy and funding legislation focused on housing that is affordable for seniors, nurses, teachers, veterans and low and middle income Californians.

The legislation, which the senators say will take an aggressive and in-depth approach to the state’s affordable housing crisis, will be introduced in the coming weeks as a series of bills.

The first bill introduced today, SB 5 is focused on funding that Sen. McGuire and Sen. Beall say will build affordable housing.

Sen. Jim Beall, chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and Sen. Mike McGuire, chair of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, say they are partnering to create innovative programs that won’t rely on one-size-fits-all approaches, but will incentivize communities of all sizes across California to advance solutions that address the housing crisis.

“All across our state, from rural cities of the North Coast to the bustling suburbs of greater Los Angeles, every community is facing an affordable housing crisis,” Sen. McGuire said. “Our affordable housing bills will help working families and seniors live and thrive in the communities they call home by providing funding and innovative solutions to one of this state’s most significant challenges. Sen. Beall and I look forward to continuing to work with residents and community leaders across California on this critical legislation in the months to come.”

"One of the hallmark bills of McGuire and Beall’s housing legislation will launch an updated approach to the funding for local governments that was lost with the dissolution of redevelopment agencies – which at the time was the largest single source of funds for affordable housing," the senators' offices said in a press release.

Beall and McGuire say their bill, The Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Act will support affordable housing, transit-oriented development, strong neighborhoods and resiliency from sea-level rise, while providing rigorous state oversight and tax payer protections to ensure that affordable housing construction occurs quickly and local governments are accountable for the expenditure of funds.

“When voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1, they sent a message to the Legislature that we are in a housing crisis, and that building more affordable homes is a statewide priority,” said Senator Beall. “This bill supports their voice by establishing a replacement tool for redevelopment agencies through a state and local partnership funding mechanism to create affordable housing through all corners of the state. Its goal is to thoughtfully tackle housing by also alleviating poverty, creating jobs, and meeting our statewide environmental goals without impacting school funding. Today, we have an opportunity to establish a renewed partnership between the state and cities, with strict accountability measures, to ensure more affordable housing gets built.”

The affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization bill that Senators Beall and McGuire are advancing will be part of a series of housing bills that will create inclusive neighborhoods by streamlining permitting and enabling strategic density without taking a one size fits all approach in communities, along with updating surplus property identification.

The aim of the legislation is to be responsive to the needs of cities and counties, while creating desperately needed housing opportunities for hard-working Californians.

Here’s what folks are saying about SB 5:

“Housing California is pleased to see state lawmakers already putting forth bold ideas to incentivize and expand development of affordable homes and simultaneously address the inequity of state investment in families earning low incomes or experiencing homelessness. Senators Jim Beall and Mike McGuire are proposing a creative solution to replace the $1 billion per year lost when California eliminated redevelopment funds for affordable homes. This proposal includes the assurance that the money will be used to construct affordable homes. State data reveals that the loss of redevelopment and expended housing bonds contributed to a dramatic 14 percent increase in homelessness statewide in just one year. We are thrilled to see such an innovative state and local partnership proposal early in this legislative session that will take a bite out of this devastating trend.” Lisa Hershey, Executive Director, Housing California (leading voice for affordable housing and homeless services)

“California’s lack of affordable housing, especially in metropolitan areas, is worsened by rising levels of income inequality. These are persistent challenges facing working families which require immediate solutions by policymakers. We thank Senators Jim Beall and Mike McGuire for this legislative proposal to establish a permanent source of funding for affordable housing projects that will provide economic relief to working families while also creating good paying construction jobs in communities throughout our state.” Cesar Diaz, State Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO

“The League of California Cities applauds Senator Beall and Senator McGuire’s leadership in the effort to restore a more robust form of tax increment financing tool that cities have lacked since the elimination of redevelopment. This effort will help restore and make available resources to communities to help build transit-oriented development, affordable housing, repair infrastructure and revitalize our neighborhoods and downtowns.” Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director, League of California Cities

“California’s housing shortage is staggering. This is a clear crisis that has to be addressed and we believe this bill is a solid start. We applaud Senators Beall and McGuire and we look forward to working with them to help not just the homeless but the growing number of working people and their families who can no longer afford even modest housing.” Daniel M. Curtin, Director, CA Conference of Carpenters

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