It will be a fight to pass legislation aimed at creating a permanent funding source for affordable housing in California, said state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier.
DeSaulnier said he expects the bill he authored, SB 1220, to make it through the Senate transportationand housing committee, where the legislation will have its first hearing later this month.
The tougher battle will come before the entire floor, he told affordable housing developers and advocates at the Housing California conference in Sacramento.
“The challenge will be to get two Republican votes,” said the Democrat from Concord.
DeSaulnier said it is important that more business groups get behind SB 1220, also known as the Housing Opportunity Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Act. The bill would impose a $75 fee on the recording of real estate documents to provide an ongoing source of funding for the development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing. An average of $700 million per year would be generated.
The affordable housing industry has been exploring a permanent funding source for years. The creation of a trust fund took on added urgency this year when local redevelopment agencies, a key source of affordable housing financing, were eliminated in an effort to reduce a massive state budget deficit.
Coming in the wake of the housing crash, SB 1220 supporters will have to fight a perception that affordable housing isn’t needed, said DeSaulnier.
Although the credit and foreclosure crisis reduced home prices in some areas, it increased pressure on the rental housing market and slowed the production of new housing of all types, according to the bill.
SB 1220 notes that California has 12 percent of the nation’s overall population but more than 21 percent of its homeless. Seniors, veterans, people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities, agricultural workers, and others are all affected by the housing shortage.
DeSaulnier urged the Housing California crowd to return to their communities re-energized in their efforts. Advocates will also be building support in Sacramento, with a lobby day scheduled for April 24.
“Don’t despair,” he said. “We are on the cusp of doing magical things.”