FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Unai Montes, email@example.com, 310.962.7369 (Bilingual)
In response to final State Budget agreement, Housing California Policy Director Christopher Martin issued the following statement:
Housing California Response to the 2022-23 State Budget Proposal
Governor Newsom, Speaker Rendon, and President pro Tem Atkins headed into budget negotiations with a projected $97.5 billion surplus. In poll after poll, Californians consistently identify housing affordability and homelessness as their top concerns. Homeowners, renters, and unhoused people looked to Sacramento for long-term solutions, not just short-term fixes. Unfortunately, our leaders in the Capitol did not answer the call to meet the moment. While the 2022-23 State Budget contains some noteworthy expenditures, it invests only a fraction of the resources required to protect tenants, preserve communities and existing affordable housing, produce new affordable housing, and end homelessness. By comparison, Roadmap Home 2030 outlines the need for a $17.9 billion annual investment in housing to meet the scale of need.
On June 26, the Legislature and Governor released their final budget agreement, including the following housing investments:
- $250 million for the Housing Accelerator Program
- $500 million for the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program
- $325 million over two years for the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP)
- $425 million for the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program over two years
- $1.5 billion for Behavioral Health Bridge Housing
- $700 million for the Encampment Resolution Grants Program
- $410 million for adaptive reuse
- $150 million over two years for the preservation of existing affordable housing
- Additional $150 million for Homekey
- $100 million over two years for the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program created by Proposition 41 (2014)
- $30 million for legal aid to prevent eviction protection
Housing California appreciates the continued inclusion of resources towards the state’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and notably, the Multifamily Housing Program, a bond-financed program that would have issued its final awards to affordable housing developers this cycle without additional investment. We are also deeply grateful for the Legislature and Administration’s investment in the Housing Accelerator Program to fund approximately 14,000 shovel-ready projects awaiting Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and unable to move to construction. These resources are critical to ensuring our pipeline of affordable housing does not stall and we continue to make a dent in the 1.2 million unit shortage of affordable housing California currently faces.
Regrettably, a $200 million investment proposed by the Legislature towards the Community Anti-displacement and Preservation Program was removed in final budget negotiations. The program would build our state’s capacity to protect and preserve naturally occurring affordable homes from speculation. While state leaders have provided $150 million over two years to help the Department of Housing and Community Development to recapitalize its existing, aging housing portfolio, the acquisition and preservation of at-risk market-rate housing stock will continue to be a necessary strategy to solve the state’s affordable housing crisis.
In the context of this dire affordable housing shortage, it is notable that the budget’s new investments in homelessness are focused almost exclusively on interim shelter and resources to address encampments. While providing immediate options to people living unsheltered is critical, it won’t produce a reduction in homelessness numbers. The lack of the requisite ongoing investments in permanent housing and services as well as harmful practices like sweeps and forced treatment will continue to destabilize Californians struggling with housing insecurity. We must provide a balance between interim and permanent housing to ensure long-term housing stability. We must also ensure that investments are not exclusively one-time, but ongoing – which is why we are pleased to see the state signal ongoing investment Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Program continuing at least into 2023-2024.
This budget represents a missed opportunity to address the housing and homelessness crises at scale. It advances only a fraction of what is called for to ensure that those seeking affordable housing can find more than an interim roof over their heads, and to guarantee that those who are unhoused can get and stay housed without having to wait months or even years for that opportunity. Affordable housing and homelessness advocates were deeply encouraged by the Administration’s historic $12 billion investment in FY 21-22 – including $1.75 billion towards the Housing Accelerator Program and $2 billion over two years for local homelessness resources. This year, with yet another historic surplus and budget nearing $300 billion, our State chose to invest less than $5 billion in new general fund resources to the issue voters consistently name as their top priority: ending homelessness. Our leaders in the Capitol are the first ones to posit that “a budget is a statement of our values.” This might be true in theory, but in practice a budget is a summary of the investments we are willing to make in the people who call the Golden State home. In the coming year, Housing California stands ready to work collaboratively with the Governor and Legislature to implement this budget and craft a budget next year that realizes our shared vision of a California with homes, health, and wealth for all.