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California Housing Consortium and Housing California


Marina Wiant, California Housing Consortium, (408) 439-9507, mwiant@calhsng.org

Adam Bink, (716) 725-4569, abink@spitfirestrategies.com

Affordable housing advocates deeply concerned over the Legislature’s failure to advance a housing package this year that meaningfully expands access to affordable housing


With affordable housing legislation facing political headwinds, advocates urge legislators to refocus on immediate, urgent housing issues related to COVID-19 and renter protections


SACRAMENTO – The California Housing Consortium (CHC) and Housing California released the following joint statement today from Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium, and Lisa Hershey, Executive Director of Housing California, in response to the Legislature’s ongoing efforts to produce an affordable housing package in the final weeks of the 2020 legislative session.  


“In the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, the Governor and Legislature acted decisively in this year’s state budget to maintain funding for essential affordable housing programs, in particular the recent $500 million expansion of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.”


“But at this late stage of the legislative session, we are deeply concerned by the significant number of proposals to expand access to affordable housing that have failed to advance through the Legislature—and the detrimental effect the remaining bills could have on the state’s ability to provide the affordable homes that Californians need.”


“Given the ongoing expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge the Governor and legislative leaders to refocus their attention on taking immediate action to support those bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s impacts—from struggling lower-income households and communities of color to people experiencing homelessness. This response should include new eviction protections for renters, as well as financial assistance for affordable housing providers doing everything they can to keep lower-income residents housed. We believe these are the best, most impactful housing ideas remaining in this year’s session—and with rent relief proposals still being considered in both houses, we hope state leaders will invest the time and effort needed to develop a workable solution.”


“As affordable housing advocates, our mission is to put roofs over the heads of California’s most vulnerable households, from farmworkers and people experiencing homelessness or living with disabilities to families, seniors, and veterans living well below the poverty line who have no other option for a safe, affordable place to live. With California facing a shortage of 1.3 million homes affordable to lower-income households, we recognize the need for a statewide response that matches the enormous scale of California’s housing challenges.”


“We have sought to work with members of the Legislature on a variety of ideas for acting quickly this year to expand access to affordable housing—including proposals to increase the number of sites available for affordable housing and accelerate approvals for a range of affordable housing types, including homeless supportive housing. We have not been able to reach an agreement with some key stakeholders, including certain labor groups, on how to achieve these goals. But we remain committed to a path forward that provides skilled workers with well-paying jobs—without exacerbating a growing labor shortage that is hampering efforts to provide much-needed affordable homes.”


“We reject the idea that the state must choose between workers and affordable homes—and we believe there are no shortage of opportunities to advance fair wages, while also providing safe, stable affordable housing for the state’s most vulnerable individuals and families. Both of our organizations worked closely with labor groups on the 2017 housing package and the successful 2018 statewide campaign to bring more than $6 billion in essential affordable housing funding. We can—and should—be partners and allies, and for the state to achieve its housing goals, we must.”


“In the midst of a global pandemic, with months—and potentially years—of economic uncertainty ahead, we remain optimistic that our state leadership can find ways to significantly increase production of affordable housing, while also creating more high-skill, well-paying jobs that allow workers to live in the communities where they work. We believe this is the only path forward, and we are prepared to take it.”