Gov. Jerry Brown has finalized lawmakers’ most robust response to California’s housing affordability problems in recent memory.
The “15 good bills” Brown signed into law here Friday morning include a new fee on real estate transactions and a $4-billion bond on the 2018 ballot that together could raise close to $1 billion a year in the near term to help subsidize new homes for low-income residents.
“It is a big challenge. We have risen to it this year,” Brown said.
The governor signed the legislation surrounded by lawmakers and advocates at Hunters View, a $450-million project in San Francisco that is redeveloping what was once crumbling public housing into new homes for 700 low- and middle-income families. Speakers at the ceremony hailed the package of bills as a sea change in how the state handles housing issues.
“Today California begins a pivot from a housing-last policy to a housing-first policy,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who wrote one of the key measures.
Still, the array of new laws Brown signed Friday will hardly put a dent in the state’s housing problems. Developers need to build about 100,000 new homes each year beyond what’s already planned, simply to keep pace with California’s population growth.
Money from the bond — assuming it’s approved by voters in November 2018 — and the new real estate fee is estimated to finance about 14,000 additional houses a year, still leaving the state tens of thousands of units short annually, according to the state and third parties. Moreover, all the bond money could be spent in as little as five years.
Legislators and others in attendance emphasized that this year’s package of bills was only the start of what they planned to do on housing.
“We know we have much more work to do,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who authored multiple bills in the package. “And we will keep working this issue for as long as we need to.”
Here’s a rundown of how the…