Bill to Expand Affordable Housing Construction Heads to Gov. Brown

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Legislature passed a bill authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, to help increase the supply of affordable housing in California by making surplus local government lands available for affordable housing construction.

Assembly Bill (AB) 2135 passed the State Assembly today with a 50-23 vote following a 22-10 vote in the State Senate last week.  The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown who must sign or veto the measure by September 30.

“We have an affordable housing crisis,” said Ting.  “Working people are being pushed out of their homes, changing the identity of our communities.  San Francisco is ground zero for this exodus and we can do more to turn the tide.  Local governments should develop their surplus parcels into affordable housing, especially those lands located next to schools, public transit, and jobs.  By signing this bill, Governor Brown can help us keep our communities intact.”

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 audit by the City and County of San Francisco revealed that it owns 29 surplus properties and another 26 properties that could be surplus and 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