Matt Schwartz, California Housing Partnership & Lisa Hershey, Housing California
As leaders in California's affordable housing movement, we appreciate that Governor Newsom's budget includes proposals that will help reduce homelessness, increase the supply of affordable housing across California, protect renters from eviction and discrimination, and address racial inequities that have plagued our state. These proposals include a third year of expanding the state's Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, restoring and expanding funding to the Infill Infrastructure Grant program, further investing in and building upon Project Homekey, and extending AB 3088 eviction protections.
These one-time investments build upon the foundation of strong affordable housing laws and improved enforcement, which we helped put in place over the last three years, the recent successes of bold initiatives like Projects Roomkey and Homekey, and obtaining $2.6 billion in new federal Emergency Rental Assistance in the stimulus package.
But as State Auditor Howle's November report
showed, piecemeal, one-time investments are insufficient. Further, an uncoordinated approach to housing and homelessness is ineffective, particularly as the state responds to concurrent crises, such as natural disasters, a pandemic, and widening racial inequity. Black, Indigenous and other people of color suffer the most and receive the least from such an approach. We know our goal: stable, affordable homes for all. Now is the time to draw up a comprehensive, long-term roadmap, with ongoing, sustainable investments to get us to this destination. We need bold action to help millions of Californians rediscover the dream that brought so many people here - opportunity for all, starting with a home to rely on.
On Tuesday, January 26th, our organizations will release a sneak peek of California's Roadmap HOME 2030: a bold, comprehensive proposal with data-driven policy solutions that center racial equity and set clear mileposts for success. Developed over the past year by a diverse coalition and rooted in the belief that we are all stronger when every Californian has a safe, stable, affordable place to call home, the Roadmap HOME demonstrates how, over the next 10 years, the state can end homelessness, create 1.2 million affordable homes for those struggling the most, and ensure that renters can stay in their homes - creating a California where everyone can thrive.
The solutions in the Roadmap HOME will:
- Invest in our values by targeting housing resources to those struggling the most, with an emphasis on Black, Indigenous and other people of color
- Promote fairness by creating tax and finance systems that undo racial inequities
- Protect people by updating and enforcing the rules that safeguard Californians struggling to afford a home
- Reimagine growth by transforming how we use land to create more affordable homes
- Speed up and make more efficient our housing production and delivery of services to people experiencing homelessness
Legislators can start now, through the budget process and legislative session, by building on recent legislative and programmatic efforts and embracing the need for bold, structural change. Taking swift action to enact key elements of the Roadmap HOME - including new, ongoing investment to end homelessness (AB 71) and a $10 billion affordable housing production bond (SB 5) - will show leadership to address our housing challenges. At the same time, we need greater accountability at both local and state levels to implement equitable solutions that ensure homes for all.
We appreciate the Governor's commitment in his budget to support local implementation of our new, stronger housing production laws through grants, technical assistance, and enforcement, and implement improvements like AB 434 to create a more effective, efficient, and equitable affordable housing finance system.
The opportunity to create the lives that we want for ourselves and our families is what makes our state great. If policymakers, along with foundations, businesses, faith organizations and other community members do not protect it with comprehensive, concerted actions, we will lose the very thing that draws people and their talents from around the world.
We will release the full Roadmap HOME in March, and with it, the voices of Californians demanding bold action to ensure that everyone has access to a stable, affordable home - the foundation that ensures generations of Californians have a shot at success.