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Governor Newsom Unveils Proposals to Tackle Housing Affordability Crisis

Governor Newsom signs executive order to build affordable housing on excess state lands

Last week, Governor Newsom’s budget proposed an unprecedented $1.75 billion to spur housing production

Surrounded by San Jose families, Governor Newsom also shared his commitment to working with the Legislature to protect renters 

SAN JOSE — In San Jose, a community acutely experiencing California’s housing crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a series of proposals to tackle housing affordability. Surrounded by area families who are considering leaving the state due to the high cost of housing, the Governor signed an executive order and laid out a number of proposals to spur housing production and help families.

Governor Newsom’s housing proposals are a central pillar of his broader “California for All” agenda. Californians spend more of their income on housing costs than residents of almost any other place in America, and those huge costs are driving middle-class workers and their families further away from their jobs, and often out of the state. Meanwhile, a number of recent studies have warned that the state’s tight housing market will constrain future economic growth and deepen economic inequality.

At the event today, Governor Newsom laid out components of his plan to tackle the housing affordability crisis for families:

  • An executive order, signed today, to spur affordable housing development on state land;
  • $1.75 billion in new housing production dollars, laid out in his budget, to help incentivize housing production; and
  • Asking the Legislature to work collaboratively on efforts to help renters and protect families from out-of-control rent increases.

During the roundtable discussion, San Jose residents shared their stories dealing with the high cost of housing and rent. Shavell Crawford, a working professional, explained how she and her fiancé were doubtful that they could afford to live in an apartment without roommates once they were married. Nuemi Guzman, a legal assistant, told of how she had to commute two hours each way to work because she couldn’t afford to live any closer, meaning she could only see her two children just before they went to bed each night.

“The California Dream is in peril if we don’t act to address this housing crisis,” said Governor Newsom. “The cost of housing — both for homeowners and renters — is the defining quality-of-life concern for people across this state. Housing costs threaten to erode our state’s long-term prosperity and are driving hardworking Californians to look for opportunities elsewhere. That’s why I’m proposing a series of unprecedented actions to tackle this crisis head-on, and I look forward to working with  the Legislature, cities, and counties to solve these urgent challenges.”

As part of his California for All housing plan, the Governor proposes:

An unprecedented and historic effort to incentivize housing production: To address California’s housing affordability crisis, the Governor’s budget proposal includes $1.75 billion to spur housing development and promote economic growth. The budget allocates $500 million for incentives for localities that create new housing and $250 million to provide technical assistance to cities and localities to responsibly ramp up zoning and permitting processes. The budget also invests in housing solutions for the missing middle class that too often cannot find affordable housing near their jobs. This includes $500 million for tax credits and $500 million for home construction.

Developing affordable housing on state lands: Governor Newsom signed an executive order to develop affordable housing on excess state lands. The executive order directs the Department of General Services (DGS) to take an inventory of all state-owned lands for potential development no later than April 30, 2019. The Department of Housing and Community Development and Housing Finance Agency will be directed to develop new screening tools to evaluate state lands and, where appropriate, state agencies can consider exchanging excess state land with local governments for other parcels, for affordable housing development. DGS, in consultation with the Department of Housing and Community Development, can issue Requests for Proposals on individual parcels and accept proposals from developers of affordable housing interested in entering into low-cost, long-term ground leases of parcels on the priority map.

Working with the Legislature to address the rising cost of rent: The Governor is committed to increasing protections and relief for renters. He looks forward to working with the Legislature to find common ground on efforts to prevent rent spikes and create stability for renters.