SENATOR ATKINS INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO CREATE NEW HOUSING FOR LOWER-INCOME CALIFORNIANS

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East County News Service

December 6, 2016 (San Diego) -- Shortly after being sworn in as the senator representing California’s 39th District on Monday, Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced legislation, SB 2, to create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

“The Legislature must address California’s severe housing crisis,” Atkins said. “While local communities largely control housing development, there are ways the state can help. Considering how hard it has become for an increasing number of Californians to afford housing, we need to step up.”

Home ownership has become an impossibled dream for many Californians with even rental prices skyrocketing out of reach.

The Apartment List website recently released a survey of more than 30,000 renters. Most “millennial” renters — those under age 35, no longer view home ownership,  long an American dream, as attainable, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Among those surveyed in San Diego, 89 percent see home ownership as unrealistic. In Los Angeles, 83 percent share that view; in San Francisco, 81 percent.  A Census report showed that in 2014, California renters were spending over 36% of their income on housing and our state had the second lowest rate of home ownership in the nation.

SB 2 is similar to AB 1335, which then-Assembly Speaker Atkins introduced in 2015. It seeks to fund construction of affordable homes on an ongoing basis through a modest recording fee on certain types of real-estate transactions, excluding home sales.

Added in SB 2 are two allowable uses for the funding: local community-plan updates and fiscal incentives for local governments to approve new housing for low-income families. Providing funding for planning updates ensures that new development reflects current community desires. Providing funding for low-income-housing incentives helps create more diverse neighborhoods, a proven way to battle socially harmful economic segregation.

“No matter what steps are taken to increase the market-rate housing stock, there will always be a need for homes that are affordable to those among us with the lowest incomes,” Atkins said. “This bill will help hundreds, if not thousands, of families every year.”

Co-authors who have signed on to SB 2 include Senators Jim Beall, Steven Bradford, Bill Dodd, Robert M. Hertzberg, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Holly J. Mitchell, Richard D. Roth, Nancy Skinner, Bob Wieckowski and Scott D. Wiener, as well as Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond.

Website of Senator Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/atkins