Labor and environmental groups in California are gearing up for a forthcoming affordable housing debate among state officials, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
In a letter to state officials, the groups called for making permitting more efficient for infill projects that have received environmental and public reviews and offer union wages.
The group also requested a “permanent” source of funding for affordable housing, a $100 million fund to help plans meet state environmental laws and that new housing-related legislation is compatible with the climate change-focused Assembly Bill 32.
The latest legislative debate over the size and makeup of affordable housing in California comes as officials there scramble to address deepening concerns over the lack of low- and middle-income properties amid elevated home prices driven by surging demand and languishing inventory.
California has come up 100,000 new homes short of demand annually over the last 10 years, a recent report by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development found. Homeownership rates there are the lowest since the 1940s, while for nearly one-third of renters there housing costs account for more than half their income.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown called on state legislators to reduce the barriers and limit delays around permitting and incentives in a bid to lower costs and increase affordable housing construction across the state.
Other measures have been put forth, including a plan by state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco that would free affordable housing projects from compliance with certain local development-related regulations, according to KQED. Meanwhile, another state senate bill proposes garnering funding for affordable housing through a $75 tax on real-estate transactions, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Consideration is also being given to a bill that would end a tax break on second homes in the state to fund an existing affordable housing program there.
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