Newsom signs 31 bills to fight California’s housing crisisSeptember 30, 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed more than two dozen bills into law Tuesday to combat the state’s housing crisis.
Newsom joined state and local officials in Oakland to sign 31 bills, part of the governor’s $22 billion plan to fight homelessness and make housing more affordable.
Many of the changes are technical in nature, but the new laws focus on keeping local ordinances and fees from impeding more affordable housing. They include Assembly Bill 602, which supporters said reduces building fees based on the size of the home. The change incentivizes builders to make more and smaller domiciles. Senate Bill 478 keeps local government from putting red tape in the way of building multifamily housing on a property that is zoned for it.
“The acute affordability crisis we are experiencing in California was decades in the making, and now we’re taking the necessary steps to fix it,” Newsom said. “This package of smart, bipartisan legislation boosts housing production in California – more streamlining, more local accountability, more affordability, more density.”
Newsom said the legislation, in addition to the state’s budget investments in affordable housing, will lead to more inclusive neighborhoods.
“Creating denser housing near jobs, parks and schools is key to meeting our climate goals as well as our affordability goals,” he said.
The package of bills is expected to create 84,000 units of housing, Newsom said.
“Housing is about dignity, it’s about jobs, about climate,” said Assembly Member David Chiu, D-San Francisco. “It’s about quality of life, and it’s about morality.”
The Bay Area has been ground zero for the affordable housing crisis in the state. According to Rocket Mortgage, San Francisco homes sell for a median price of $1.3 million, higher than any other city in America.
“California, and especially the Bay Area, have a supply issue,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
Newsom signed legislation Thursday that eventually will reduce single-family zoning in California by allowing two- and four-family housing in single-family zones statewide.
“The California HOME Act would open the doors of opportunity for working families, expanding rental and homeownership options, and providing more access to the schools, parks, and resources that our neighborhoods have to offer,” Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said.
Many of the bills were championed by California YIMBY, a nonprofit whose goal is to increase housing availability in the state.
“The tide has turned in favor of pro-housing activists this year,” said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY. “Governor Newsom is living up to his promise on housing and land use reform.”
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