Strengthening Existing Tools and Removing Barriers
AB529 (Gabriel) Adaptive Reuse Projects
Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to convene a working group regarding adaptive reuse residential projects, including identifying and recommending amendments to state building standards, and makes other changes to state law related to adaptive reuse projects.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Converting an office or retail space to housing is not as simple as it might look. The working group will identify the most common difficulties associated with making these conversions and make recommendations for revising the building codes and practices to making these efforts easier.
AB519 (Schiavo) Creates an Affordable Housing Finance Workgroup to design a consolidated application for affordable housing developers to use to access state housing funding programs and a coordinated review process for the application on or before January 1, 2027.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Creating a one-stop shop for affordable housing finance has been a goal for decades. The working group includes all of the major state and federal programs and has a specific due date. The political will may be high enough to push this through, finally.
AB480 (Ting) Surplus Lands Act . Makes numerous changes to the Surplus Land Act (SLA), including the disposal process, the authority of the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and penalties for violations. Adds definitions of key words in the surplus lands act. I.e. “dispose” and “exempt surplus land”.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: This bill was subject to seemingly endless amendments, and incorporates some language from SB747, a formerly competing bill. Clean-up language will almost certainly be introduced in a new bill in 2024.
AB1449 (Alvarez) Extends CEQA exemptions to 100% affordable projects so long as project labor standards established by AB2011 are included.
CAL ALHFA Comment. Long sought exemption for these projects. CEQA is often used as a last-ditch effort to kill an affordable project.
AB1307 (Wicks) For purposes of residential projects reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), provides that the effects of noise generated by occupants and guests on human beings is not a significant effect on the environment. Further provides that public universities are not required, in an environmental impact report (EIR) prepared for a residential or mixed-use housing project, to consider alternatives to the location of the project if specified requirements are met.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: HUGE WIN FOR THE GOOD FOLKS!!!
AB1633 (Ting) Provides that a disapproval under the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) includes a local agency's failure to make a determination of whether a project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), abuse of discretion, or failure to adopt certain environmental documents under specified circumstances, and makes several other changes, until January 1, 2031.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Puts local agencies on the spot to conform their practices to HAA requirements, and make decisions timely.
SB469 (Allen) This bill provides that Article 34 requirements do not apply to housing developments that receive funding from specified state housing programs.
1) Money appropriated and disbursed by the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency, Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA).
2) An allocation of federal or state low-income housing tax credits from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC).
3) Money appropriated from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: A simple, no-nonsense solution to work around an ancient, racist provision of the state constitution. Passed with virtually no opposition. Next step: Repealing Article 34 itself.
AB821 (Grayson) Requires a local agency to approve developments that are consistent with its general plan but not the applicable zoning ordinance, or to make the zoning ordinance consistent with the general plan within 180 days, and provides a legal remedy to ensure compliance.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Forces local agencies to conform their general plans and zoning ordinances, a tactic sometimes used to kill or hopelessly delay affordable housing projects.
SB341 (Becker) More appropriately aligns pro housing incentives to projects where local programs are the applicants. Exempts developers from pro housing bonus points requirement.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Enables developers to work in unfriendly territory without penalty. Good for YIMBYs, bad for NIMBYs.
AB84 (Ward) Expands the eligibility of affordable housing developments that can use the state’s welfare property tax exemption, which exempts housing affordable to low-income residents from local property taxes. The law would create more certainty on the exemption and provide a hold-harmless clause for tenants whose incomes grow above the current threshold of 80 percent of area median income after move-in.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Using the property tax exemption from the time a project is approved allows additional financial resources (those which would have been used to pay property taxes) to be used for other development purposes.
SB482 (Blakespeare) This bill explicitly requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to offer capitalized operating reserves to supportive housing units developed under the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP).
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Provides up-front funding for ongoing capital reserves. Desperately needed to make SHP projects financially feasible over their lifetimes.
AB346 (Quirk-Silva) Allows the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC), for any calendar year in which the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC) has declared a competition for the award of tax-exempt bond authority for qualified residential rental projects, to reallocate some of the $500 million in enhanced state low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) made available from 4% federal credit projects to 9% federal credit projects.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Maximizes efficiency of TCAC/CDLAC resources.
The redevelopment working group formed by Asm. David Alvarez continues its work in identifying redevelopment resources and strategies. CAL-ALHFA remains committed to this process and the working group and will report on its progress moving forward.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FINANCING AND SERVICES
The Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2023
Creates the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2024 (Bond) to, subject to voter approval, authorize $6.380 billion in general obligation (GO) bonds to finance permanent supportive housing for veterans and others, as well as unlocked and locked behavioral health treatment and residential settings for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness with severe behavioral health challenges. Allows for by right streamlined, ministerial review for capital projects funded by the bond. The bond measure will be on the March 5, 2024 ballot.
The Behavioral Health Services Act
This bill revises and recasts the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) as the Behavioral Health Services Act (BHSA) if voters approve amendments to the MHSA at the March 5, 2024 statewide primary election. This bill clarifies that county behavioral health programs are permitted to use BHSA funds to treat primary substance use disorder conditions and makes conforming changes throughout the BHSA. This bill restructures current MHSA funding buckets. This bill enhances the current process for local planning of various services funded by the BHSA, and for oversight, accountability, and reporting of BHSA funds
CAL-ALHFA Comment: These bills were sponsored by the Governor’s office and are considered the foundation of the Governor’s latest effort to combat homelessness by creating more resources for persons with Behavioral Health problems.
Caps annual increases in regular assessments on deed-restricted affordable housing units in certain homeowners associations (HOAs) at 5% plus the percentage change in cost of living, not to exceed 10% greater than the preceding regular assessment, for certain HOAs that record their original declaration on or after January 1, 2025.
CAL-ALHFA Comment: Local agencies have a long history of participating in home ownership programs, and were concerned that their investments in affordable home ownership were at risk over the rising (and often unaffordable) cost in Home Owner Association dues. This bill limits the increases that can be charged going forward, but is not retroactive. Some home owners are still at risk because of this.