California Governor Gavin Newsom has released his proposed budget for the 2023/2024 fiscal year. We acknowledge the difficult choices the Governor must make in a deficit year and are appreciative of his following through on his commitments to affordable housing. We particularly appreciate the continuation of the $500M annual investment in the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Authorized since 2020, these Housing Credits have increased the annual production of affordable rental homes by an average of 10,000 per year and are critical to maximizing the use of federal 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Keeping the state credits flowing for another year will ensure that thousands of new homes stuck in the existing pipeline of shovel-ready developments can begin construction without further delays.
We are also thankful for the $225M for the Multifamily Housing Program, $225M for the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program, $250M for adaptive reuse, $100M for the Portfolio Reinvestment Program, $50M for the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program, and $50M for affordable housing on excess sites.
These resources are of course insufficient to solve California’s affordable housing crisis, which requires a long-term, comprehensive, evidence-based set of policy solutions at scale, similar to those described in the Roadmap Home 2030. We therefore call on state leaders to include substantial additional resources to address affordable housing and homeless needs consistent with the priorities expressed in the affordable housing coalition’s September budget request letter.
Given that budget deficits are likely to continue for the next few years, we further call on state leaders to place a $10 billion affordable housing and homelessness bond on the 2024 ballot as a stop-gap measure until such time as longer-term solutions can be adopted. Authorizing a new affordable housing bond is consistent with the way California has financed the production and preservation of affordable and supportive housing in the past, minimizes short-term expenditures, and allows production to proceed when costs are lower and in a manner that spurs economic recovery.