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At what he called "probably the biggest bill signing" he's ever seen, Governor Jerry Brown signed 15 bills into law September 29, 2017 to address the needs of Californians most impacted by our state's housing catastrophe. The historic event in San Francisco brought together champion legislators and allies.  Housing California Executive Director Lisa Hershey represented the affordable housing community, the Residents United Network, and advocacy partners.

"We are all ready for progress," Hershey said. "We look forward to building on our momentum with state leaders, community champions, and most importantly, our residents, who made the real difference in getting this legislature to hear them and take action on the top issue facing Californians today."


It is now up to us to act on these new laws. Affordable and supportive housing developers will have the opportunity to create and preserve homes statewide using funds from SB 2. Voters and organizers must start the campaign now to pass a $4 billion housing bond (SB 3) in 2018. We must all contact our local governments and work together to reinstate or create inclusionary zoning ordinances (AB 1505). And, we must continue to monitor localities to ensure proper implementation of housing elements (SB 166, AB 72, AB 1397, and more).


  • Budget Success for Homelessness$2 billion for the No Place Like Home (NPLH) initiative. No Place Like Home includes funding for the "Bringing Families Home" pilot program, which would provide housing assistance to families whose children remain in the foster-care system solely due to the parents' lack of stable housing. An estimated one-third of the children in foster care could be reunited with their families if their families could afford a stable place to live. Housing California advocated for $10 million for the first year in order to ensure success of the pilot program. Housing California also:​

    • Assisted Senate pro Tem’s office in language for the California Emergency Solutions Grants Program, which secured $35 million for rapid re-housing and street outreach.​​

    • Assisted in increasing by $12 million (to a total of $47 million) CalWORKS Housing Support Program and creating Housing and Disability Advocacy Program, with $45 million, to enroll people in SSI and get them housed​.

  • Homelessness ​

AB 801: Success for Homeless Youth in Higher Education (Bloom) requires public universities to give priority admission preferences to students who are homeless in the same way that foster youth receive a preference. 


AB 1760: Decriminalize Youth Victims of Trafficking for Sex Work (Santiago & Liu) stops the senseless criminalization of trafficked minors for sex work or non-violent crimes related to trafficking victims by granting them immunity from prosecution. It also creates an interagency working group to develop a state plan to serve and protect sexually exploited and trafficked minors that incorporates developing specialized supportive services.​

AB 1995: Community College Shower Access for Homeless Students (Williams) requires community college campuses that have shower facilities for students to grant access to those facilities to any student that presents as homeless, who is enrolled in coursework, has paid enrollment fees, and is in good standing.​

AB 2346: Better Access to Social Services Hearings 'Statement of Positions' (Baker) creates better access to county "Statements of Positions" and improves individuals' ability to represent themselves in hearings by making the statements available in an electronic format, online, at least two days prior to a hearing.​​

  • Affordable Housing Land Use and Finance

AB 2031: Boomerang Bond (Bonta) gives cities the authority to approve issuance of bonds for affordable development that will be paid for with any portion of its "boomerang funds" without voter approval. There is no fiscal impact to the state's General Fund and no property taxes would be diverted from the other taxing entities.​

AB 2501: Strengthen Density Bonus Law (Bloom) addresses a number of vague provisions of Density Bonus law and strengthens Density Bonus incentives. It clarifies that the legislative intent of the law is to encourage the development of affordable apartments and that the incentives provided for in the law are available "by right" to housing providers who include affordable apartments. This law ensures that local governments process Density Bonus applications quickly and efficiently, creates certainty that inaction by a city or county will not delay their proposed housing development, clarifies that applicants for a density bonus do not need to provide financial justifications for the incentives they're requesting, and increases certainty regarding the number of additional apartments a developer gets to build as a result of the density increase. It also limits cities' and counties' ability to impose additional requirements on Density Bonus developers that are intended to block development, for example design and size limitations that make inclusion of affordable apartments infeasible.​

SB 873: Increase Value of State Housing Tax Credit (Beall) eliminates the state housing tax credit's "ownership" requirement, thereby increasing the value of every housing tax credit that investors purchase. This increase in value of every state housing tax credit purchased incentivizes investment in state tax credits, which in turn supports the development of much-needed affordable apartments for Californians priced out of the rental market.​


Past Successes


  • Housing California initiated a successful partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to reduce recidivism rates and assist persons with mental illness who are exiting correctional facilities through a $10 million/year allocation from the department's existing budget to provide supportive services. These services are an important component in ensuring that people with mental illnesses remain stable and successful within their community. This win by Housing California will also avoid future costs in more expensive government systems; once stabilized, these individuals avoid cycling through the expensive corrections system and high-cost emergency rooms. (Housing California continues to advocate for funding the most important piece of the supportive services solution: permanent, affordable places to live.)

  • As a direct result of Housing California's work in the state Capitol, increased awareness about homelessness led to annual hearings for the past four years. These hearings provided new opportunities to inform legislators about the challenges in addressing homelessness, and more importantly, about the importance of funding proven solutions. Legislators and their staff members now consult with Housing California to shape hearing agendas and find knowledgeable witnesses.

  • Housing California played a lead role in designing the state's Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program, which stabilizes living situations for Californians who have mental-health issues. Housing California made sure that the program was designed to include funds that developers could add to their complicated array of sources necessary to build affordable homes, but also made sure that funds to operate the developments and keep people stable in their homes (funding for things such as psychiatric services, help with medication, and life-skills classes) were included. 

Affordable Housing Land Use and Finance

  • Housing California led the campaign that passed landmark legislation in 2006, winning $2.85 billion for affordable homes. To date, this state investment spurred an additional $8 billion in additional private and other investment (helping the economy); created between 50,000 - 80,000 jobs (helping hardworking Californians); and, built or preserved nearly 42,000 well-designed, attractive, and affordable places to live (helping vulnerable people and people on modest budgets).

  • In late 2008, skyrocketing foreclosure rates flooded the rental market with former homeowners looking for affordable rental homes. At the same time, California entered yet another budget crisis. As a result, voter-approved bond funds for affordable homes were frozen by the Pooled Money Investment Board, which is comprised of California's Treasurer, Controller, and Director of Finance. Though necessary, their action put hundreds of affordable homes at risk (some built, some under construction, and many not even started) and jeopardized hundreds of millions of dollars in additional private investment required to make affordable homebuilding financially viable. Housing California immediately sprang into action and joined forces to lead nonprofit developers and lenders in convincing the Pooled Money Investment Board to unfreeze $1.8 billion in bond funding. As a direct result, hundreds of stalled housing developments were able to move forward.

Climate Change​

  • The nation was watching in 2008 when California passed the first law in the United States designed to control greenhouse gas emissions through better planning of land uses (where homes are built) and convenient, affordable transportation options. Throughout the drafting of this law (Senate Bill 375), Housing California had a seat at the table and negotiated substantial changes, which included enforcing deadlines for local governments to zone land for affordable-home development and implementing housing programs. Since the passage of Senate Bill 375, Housing California has served as a leading voice for socially equitable implementation of the law and creating new housing opportunities for Californians with the most modest budgets. This includes influencing and assisting in the creation of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, and the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program. Housing California co-created the Sustainable Communities for All Coalition, a multi-sector group that has been instrumental in the creation and continued advocacy for these and other GHG reduction programs.