Written and Supported By: Housing California, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Kennedy Commission, NPH, Sacramento Housing Alliance, San Diego Housing Federation, and Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing
“In our home, no one should live in constant fear of eviction or spend their whole paycheck to keep a roof overhead. We will launch a Marshall Plan for affordable housing and lift up the fight against homelessness from a local matter to a state-wide mission.” — Governor Gavin Newsom in his inaugural address.
Governor, we are ready.
Our state needs a plan so that members of our urban, suburban, and rural communities who are the most over-burdened by rising housing costs because of low incomes, disasters, financial hardships, or immigration issues can live and work where they want without discrimination or getting priced out.
As affordable housing and homelessness advocates, we urge Governor Newsom to fulfill his stated mission with a focus on under-served communities as he implements a bold plan to end homelessness and increase affordability with the construction of 3.5 million homes by 2025. This is how impacted Californians — the 1.5 million low-income families over-burdened by rising housing costs and the 130,000 people experiencing homelessness — will finally receive fair attention from our public policies.
How do we get there?
We urge Governor Newsom to expand on his promise to “lift up homelessness from a local matter to a state mission”, including addressing the immediate needs of millions of Californians who are one economic shock away from homelessness:
· Create a statewide plan to end homelessness. We have the highest homelessness population but no formal plan of statewide solutions. Leaders and advisers should also make sure the plan includes cross-department coordination.
· Appoint a cabinet-level Affordable Housing and Homelessness Secretary.
· Match an ongoing budget allocation to the need. We can prevent and end homelessness, and stabilize families, with flexible rental and emergency assistance along with investment in affordable development and preservation. We have the money, as the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported we can spend $3 billion in ongoing funding for affordable housing development and assistance and still weather an economic downturn. We just need the political will.
· Rebalance land use and finance policies to better serve our communities, by investing in and making it easier to build deeply affordable homes. The state must act to incentivize the kind of development that does account for housing needs — not just commercial development that ignores such needs, and stop the exclusion of a range of income levels and communities of color in resource-rich residential neighborhoods.
· Work to replace the thousands of homes lost by low-income households due to fires and other natural disasters and preserve the tens of thousands of currently affordable, rent-restricted apartments that have expiring federal and state subsidies and rent controls, as well as mobile home parks at risk of conversion to other uses.
· Be intentional about addressing racial and social equity in all facets of housing policy, from ending housing voucher discrimination and unjust evictions, to ensuring all low-income Californians have access to good schools, good public transit, fresh food, and health care.
Governor Newsom and our state elected officials experienced firsthand during the November 2018 election that Californians are ready for this bold plan. Californians overwhelmingly voted for $6 billion in new investment for affordable homes and ending homelessness with the passage of Propositions 1 and 2. A massive coalition representing the sectors of health care, agriculture, labor, environmental justice, senior and veterans groups, tech and others joined forces to support both ballot initiatives and innovative legislation that would make California a more equitable place to live.
These various sectors, along with state and regional affordable housing advocates — Housing California, The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, Sacramento Housing Alliance, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, Kennedy Commission in Orange County, Sacramento Housing Alliance, and San Diego Housing Federation — are strengthening and will continue to fight statewide to make a difference for our state’s communities.
Together, we are ready to work with Governor Newsom and our legislature to create a California that advances fairness and shared prosperity.