The Latest News

October| 2022

Federal News

Federal Budget News

In what has become a regular occurrence, Congress has passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running through December 16th while working to hash out a deal on the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget. With the new fiscal year beginning on October 1st, the CR will give Congress a cushion of time to work out details after the midterm elections. Both the House and Senate have released draft spending bills, with the House bill appropriating about $3 billion more for US Department of Housing and Urban Development programs than the Senate bill. CRs have become a common part of budget negotiations—last year’s budget was only approved in March of this year, seven months after the start of the fiscal year. To dig deeper, check out the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s analysis of the House and Senate drafts.

State News

Housing Package Signed


Governor Newsom held a press conference in San Francisco on September 28th to announce the signing of more the 40 housing bills, including two impactful bills, AB 2011 (Buffy Wicks, Oakland) and SB 6 (Anna Caballero, Merced), which will open land for millions of new homes throughout the state. These two bills will allow housing development by right on land now zoned for commercial, office, and parking uses. The by right feature of the bills will reduce the time it takes to bring housing online, which will also save considerable money. Both bills have labor requirements, though they differ, and SB 6 does not require the inclusion of affordable housing. While both bills have a similar focus, the Governor praised them as complementary bills that offer different strategies to increase housing development opportunities. In total, the Governor signed more than 40 housing bills. We've updated our housing bill list from last month’s newsletter with what passed and what didn't—check it out here

In addition, the Governor announced $1.02 billion in funding for new affordable housing developments throughout the State. These funds, awarded by the State Department of Housing and Community Development through the California Housing Accelerator program, will assist in the development of 2,755 new homes in 30 shovel-ready developments that were unable to move forward due to the oversubscription of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The majority of the new homes will target families earning less than 50% of Area Median Income, with a significant focus on funding for families earning extremely low-incomes and unhoused residents.

Bill Enacted to Create New Housing Solutions Agency for Los Angeles County 

One of the bills signed into law last week was Senate Bill 679 (Kamlager—Los Angeles), which creates the Los Angeles County Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA), a new independent regional agency with the authority to provide funding and technical assistance for affordable housing throughout the County and its 88 cities. Importantly, LACAHSA will have the authority to issue bonds and raise revenue through a variety of sources, including bonds (general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, mortgage revenue bonds, and private activity bonds), parcel taxes, gross receipts business license taxes, or a documentary transfer tax. All of these sources would require a vote of the public and/or a nexus study that identifies the linkage between the tax being charged and how the funds will be used. Read more...

Governor Newsom Signs Historic Parking Bill

On September 22nd, Governor Newsom signed AB 2097, a bill by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (Glendale), which prohibits local governments from enforcing minimum parking requirements on new housing, commercial development, and other projects within a half mile of transit. In signing the bill, the Governor said housing policy is climate policy and that by promoting denser more affordable homes near transit it will both lower the cost of housing and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the Governor’s announcement here. Read more... 

Care Court Act Signed into Law

Governor Newsom signed SB 1338 (Umberg- Garden Grove) on September 14th, putting into motion the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act, which he proposed earlier this year as a key component of his strategy to tackle the State’s homeless crisis. The CARE Act authorizes family, friends, first responders, and behavioral health staff to petition a civil court to create a voluntary CARE agreement or a court-ordered CARE plan that includes county behavioral health services, including behavioral health care, stabilization medication, housing, and other services to adults suffering from schizophrenia spectrum and psychotic disorders. Read more to learn more about the bill and the pilot jurisdictions that are required to launch by October 1, 2023.


Register for the Fourth Housing Policy Forum 

California’s Housing Budget & 2022 Legislative Landscape: What You Need to Know 

SCAG and SANDAG are collaborating to help you understand all you need to know about the legislative landscape for housing in California. Join us Tuesday, November 15th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a discussion on state housing policy initiatives in the context of the recently concluded legislative session. Participants will have the chance to: 

  • Learn about the 2022-2023 state budget and funding trends in SoCal. 

  • Provide insight that can help leaders throughout the region meet their local housing needs.

Reports and Toolkits

HCD Provides New Tools

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) released an update to its Affordability Calculator and Statewide Housing Plan Dashboard, in addition to announcing a new way to access data through the California Open Data Portal. The Dashboard contains helpful information about housing, including data about State, regional, and local housing needs, housing conditions, and housing production. The Calculator is a useful tool to local governments as they prepare their annual Housing Element Progress reports, enabling jurisdictions to determine affordability levels for housing units. The California Open Data Portal is a great source of information for local governments and other housing organizations, combining data from HCD and other sources. Data includes building applications, entitlements, permits, and development completions. 

HCD also updated its Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Handbook to ensure that it included changes to State law, including SB 9. In addition, a new ADU customer service portal is now available on the HCD website to help customers navigate the resources available. Check it out here.

SCAG Provides New Toolkit


The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) released the Other-to-Residential Toolkit that seeks to help planners and policymakers increase housing development by converting underutilized non-residential land for new homes. The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide with solutions, best practices, actions, and measures that can be used by local agencies, developers, and others interested in converting commercial and other non-residential land to housing. The guide also includes case studies of residential conversions for: retail/commercial, gas stations, golf courses, and brownfields. While prepared for the Southern California area, the ideas are helpful to anyone interested in this topic. Check out the toolkit here.

NLIHC Issues Report on The National Housing Trust Fund 


In September, the National Low Income Housing Coalition issued a report—The National Housing Trust Fund: An Overview of 2017 State Projects—that details how states used funding awarded in 2017, the second year of HTF funding. The purpose of the report was to gain a preliminary understanding of how the funds were used and how many homes were assisted, among other data points, to help NLIHC in its efforts to push for continuing HTF funding. The report notes that the information may not be comprehensive, as some states did not provide complete information. 

California received a 2017 HTF allocation of $23MM which funded four housing developments with 117 new homes. The program was oversubscribed by more than 5-1, with 29 applications requesting a total of $134MM. HTF funding in California is used for the Housing for a Healthy California (HHC) Article I Program and the Local Housing Trust Fund Program.

Terner Center Releases Report on California’s Rent Cap  


Last week, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation released a report entitled Rising Rents, Not Enough Data: How a Lack of Transparency Threatens to Undermine California’s Rent Cap, which reports on the implementation of AB 1482 (2019), which created a Statewide rent cap and enacted just cause provisions to protect residents from arbitrary evictions. The report includes troubling findings that indicate that the rent caps have not been adhered to, with 60% of rental listings showing price increases that exceeded the legislative limits. The authors noted that data is not available to really know how significant the problem is. Several recommendations are included in the report, including providing information to landlords to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities and to tenants to ensure that they are aware of their rights. Additionally, the report calls for accountability and enforcement though it did not specify how that would be implemented. Check it out here

U.C. Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute released a brief—Affordable Housing as Local Reparations for Black Americans: Case Studies—which provides examples of cities that are implementing and considering policies and programs that are working to remedy housing discrimination and displacement through reparations to Black Americans. The report, which was prepared by OBI’s summer fellow, highlights efforts in Berkeley, Santa Monica, and Evanston, Illinois, with information and analysis about each of the cities’ efforts.

HUD Releases Economic Justice Agenda

HUD released a new report entitled Bridging the Wealth Gap: An Agenda for Economic Justice and Asset Building for Renters, which calls for asset building through increased savings, access to mainstream banking, and credit score improvement. The report details actions that HUD will take to help lower-income families build assets and increase their financial stability. In addition, HUD released a Notice of Funding Availability for $113 million for the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program to assist families receiving HUD assistance. Read more...

New Report on CEQA Challenges to Housing

The California Center for Jobs & the Economy and the California Business Roundtable released a report that finds that 50% of the housing developments proposed in 2020—representing 47,999 units-- were subject to CEQA lawsuits. According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the lawsuits raised climate concerns over Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). While it is important to evaluate and mitigate environmental impacts, some groups file CEQA lawsuits to achieve other, non-environmental outcomes, including opposing new development. The bottom line is that CEQA lawsuits result in added costs and time to the housing development process, increasing rents and mortgage prices and adding to the State’s housing crisis.

Articles of Interest

Why Did Housing Costs Explode During the Pandemic?— Bloomberg—Richard Florida—September 8, 20222

We’re Wildly Underestimating the Potential of Mobile Housing—Sightline Institute—September 9, 2022--

California Doubles Down on its Housing Laws—New York Times—September 12, 2022--

How Do You Solve a Problem Like California?—Insurance Journal—September 23, 2022

Join Our Growing Team

Come join our team! LeSar Development Consultants is growing, and we are looking for talented and motivated team members to join our diverse team. Please help us reach a wide group of candidates by sharing with your networks and social media channels. Find more information about these positions on our Careers Page.

Know someone who would like this newsletter?

Send them the link or forward this email

Facebook  Twitter