Assembly Passes Bill to Expand Affordable Housing Construction

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Assembly passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, that will help increase the supply of affordable housing in California by making new land available for affordable housing construction.

Assembly Bill (AB) 2135 passed with a 53-22 vote.  It now moves to the State Senate for further review.

“Families are struggling to pay for housing, especially in the Bay Area,” said Ting.  “There is very little land available for affordable housing development.  Local governments have significant holdings of surplus lands, and some of it is located next to schools, public transit and jobs.  These precious properties should become homes for working people.”

AB 2135 gives affordable housing development projects the right of first refusal to obtain surplus land held by local governments.  It also gives project developers more time to negotiate the purchase of these surplus lands, stipulates that the land can be sold for less than fair market value, requires that housing projects that are 100 percent affordable are given first priority, and codifies that if there are no affordable housing bids and the surplus property is transferred to residential development then 25 percent of the units must be affordable.

“Given the elimination of redevelopment agencies, it is critical to ensure that affordable housing development maintains a meaningful right of first refusal for strategically located surplus land that could be utilized for residential infill development affordable to low and moderate-income residents,” said Dianne J. Spaulding, Executive Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, in a support letter.

“With land prices significantly driving up rents and mortgages, selling surplus property to affordable home developers at discounted prices is one way cities and counties can use their resources to meet their residents’ housing needs,” said Julie Snyder, Policy Director at Housing California in a support letter.

A 2012 report by the City and County of San Francisco revealed that it owns 42 properties designated as surplus and another 26 properties identified as potentially surplus that should be prioritized for affordable housing projects.

The traditional measure of housing affordability is mortgage/rent that is less than 30% or less of one’s income.  Households spending more than half of their income on housing are considered to be severely rent-burdened.  80% of extremely low-income households are now classified as severely rent-burdened.  53% of very low-income households are now classified as severely rent-burdened.

Further information is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Contact: Anthony Matthews (Ting), tel. (916) 319-2019, anthony.matthews@asm.ca.gov