We are living in uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has been another reminder that building housing – especially affordable housing – for vulnerable low-income Californians is more important than ever.
The Senate Democrats housing production package puts California in the fast lane for housing production, removes existing barriers to streamline the process, and supports California’s working families struggling to pay rent to keep them from financial ruin.
Developed with housing equity advocates, builders, local leaders, and other key stakeholders across the state, the package will help create thousands of good paying jobs that strengthen the economic viability of working families and help rebuild the state’s economy.
We cannot allow more families to fall into homelessness – we must build for the future by tackling the state’s housing shortage.
This bill provides a by-right approval process for affordable housing projects proposed on land already owned by a religious institution or independent nonprofit college. Faith-based organizations have a long history of partnering with developers to build affordable housing. These organizations, as well as nonprofit colleges, often possess surplus land that could be utilized for affordable housing, if local zoning would allow for it.
This bill allows local governments to pass a zoning ordinance for up to 10 units without triggering CEQA in areas that are transit-rich, jobs-rich, or urban infill. This option allows for additional small-scale infill development for local governments who want to spur more housing production.
This bill expands the existing AB900 process for Environmental Leadership Development Projects for housing projects. This creates a new tool for housing developers who may have been interested in utilizing the AB 900 process, but did not meet the existing dollar threshold. In addition to creating housing units, it has the added benefit of creating numerous construction jobs.
This bill enhances existing Density Bonus Law by increasing the number of incentives provided to developers in exchange for providing more affordable units. Increasing the amount of affordable housing for low-income families remains a top priority for the Senate. Unfortunately, the current budget environment doesn’t provide for additional public subsidy. Enhancing the Density Bonus Law would allow developers to expand projects, thereby enhancing their profitability, and adding more affordable housing units at no cost to taxpayers.
This bill encourages small-scale neighborhood development spearheaded by homeowners by creating a ministerial approval process for duplexes and lot splits that meet local zoning, environmental, and tenant displacement standards. This builds off the successes of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) law in a meaningful way to increase production while bolstering finances for individual homeowners.
This bill would unlock existing land zoned for commercial office and retail for potential residential development by making housing an eligible use on those sites. Even before COVID-19, many large-scale commercial developers were moving toward mixed-use projects that integrate live/work/play uses into one neighborhood. This trend has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this bill reflects the need to update the development landscape statewide to embrace that evolution and create much-needed housing alongside office and retail.
This bill provides eviction protection to tenants unable to make payments during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing residential landlords and mobile-home park owners voluntary financial tax incentives to keep tenants housed. Given COVID-19 and its impacts on Californians, the state must take action to ensure it doesn’t lose existing rental housing stock. This proposal provides immediate relief to tenants in need to ensure that they are not evicted as a result of COVID-19 and/or its economic impacts, while also protecting landlords who operate in good faith and otherwise face foreclosure which could result in tenant evictions.