California Housing News

Week of July 22

California gearing up for big battle over rent control
San Francisco Chronicle
Battle lines are forming over what could be one of the most contentious fights about housing in California in decades. I’m talking about Proposition 10, the November ballot initiative that would overturn California’s Costa-Hawkins Rent Control Act and let local governments impose any form of rent control on any type of rental housing within their jurisdictions.

Can a federal tax credit help rent-burdened Americans?
Curbed
Homeownership remains increasingly out of reach for more and more Americans, yet homeowners reap most of the country’s tax savings and benefits, which do not apply to renters. That could change under a new bill which would extend tax credits to renters—the first major response from federal legislators to address a growing housing affordability crisis. Under the Rent Relief Act, a refundable tax credit would be available to those who make less than $100,000 a year and spend at least 30 percent of their income on rent, including utilities.

Soaring rents jolt senior tenants at mobile home park
Orange County Register
For sale signs are cropping up throughout the Driftwood Mobile Home Park in Westminster since notices starting going out in late June announcing rent increases as high as $300 a month. For many, that’s an increase of 30 percent to 40 percent, more than many longtime residents at this senior park of tidy, lushly landscaped mobile homes can afford. Many here protest they’re on fixed incomes and will have to move if the increases take effect.

Eviction crisis in California requires legal remedy
San Francisco Chronicle
Nearly four households are evicted every single minute in this country. In many ways, California is the epicenter of this crisis. In nearly 95 percent of jurisdictions in the state, renters can be evicted for any or no reason, and tenants face the constant threat of unchecked rent increases. Without protections, millions of Californians are threatened with loss of home and community. Proposition 10 responds to this crisis directly by allowing the protections that California renters so desperately need.

Rent control and inclusionary housing policies are self-interested and harmful
San Francisco Chronicle
With the cost of California housing continuing to surprise even people who thought they were beyond such surprises, the pressure to “do something” has produced two notable “solutions”: inclusionary housing policies, requiring homes to be set aside for lower income families as a condition of building new homes, and campaigns to reinstate local power to impose rent control (as with the Affordable Housing Act initiative, on California’s Nov. 6 ballot as Proposition 10).

California’s Property Tax Postponement program aids low-income seniors
Orange County Register
For Californians who are struggling to pay property tax bills that are rising ever higher due to the increasing number of local bonds and parcel taxes, help may be available. Property taxes are held in check by Proposition 13, passed by voters in 1978. It limited the annual increase in the assessed value of a property and cut the tax rate to 1 percent statewide. Prop. 13 has helped millions of Californians keep their homes by keeping property taxes predictable and affordable.

Tenants should not fear calling for help
San Francisco Examiner
Every day, tenants across California face difficult decisions that put the need for housing security at odds with the need to live a secure and happy life. One of the most dangerous predicaments tenants face is the threat of eviction for seeking emergency service. This is what Suzannah Doe encountered in 2016 after her boyfriend hit her in the face, loaded a gun, and threatened to shoot her. Suzannah called 911, and the police report clearly noted she feared for her life and thought her boyfriend was going to kill her.

Sacramento needs a real plan to help renters, not another windfall for landlords
Sacramento Bee
Sacramento demands better solutions to the renter housing crisis than giving our tax dollars over to market-rate landlords. The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board called on the “powers that be – members of the Sacramento City Council, developers, SEIU-backed tenants’ rights groups…to come up with a legitimate plan to address the affordable housing crisis.”

Week of July 16

Want to buy a house? How long you’ll have to save depends on where you live
CNBC
If homeownership is your American dream, here is a wake-up call. It could take more than six years to save up for a down payment. High rents and high home prices have hit affordability where it hurts, lengthening the amount of time most potential buyers will need to even think about financing a home.

One State, Unaffordable: Your Housing Questions, Answered
Capital Public Radio
The cost of living in California keeps on climbing. There’s just not enough housing to keep up with the demand of a growing economy. It’s a crisis that has strengthened calls for rent control, left many on the brink of financial ruin and dimmed the dream of a California retirement. We asked for your questions about affording a home in the Golden State, and then we brought together reporters, experts and lawmakers to help us answer them in a hour-long special called “California Dream: One State, Unaffordable.”

Life after the Bay Area: Fleeing residents feel heartbreak, joy
Mercury News
When Wells Twombly looks out across his sunny Fremont backyard, he can sometimes still see his son and friends as children — standing on the roof of the shed, holding handmade bows and raining down toy arrows on their imaginary foes. Such memories run rampant through the small, orange house on Colby Street that Twombly, 61, and his wife, Kathleen, 62, are leaving after more than two decades.

San Francisco metro area has lost 31,000 home-owning families in 10 years
San Francisco Chronicle
It’s no secret the San Francisco Bay Area can be a tough place to raise kids, and now a new report sheds light on those families sticking out. Looking at data from the U.S. Census Bureau, RentCafe found the number of families with children who own their homes in the San Francisco metro area has dropped dramatically, while an increasing number are renting.

San Francisco is so expensive, its new mayor has never been able to afford a home there
San Francisco Chronicle
“I’ve been a renter all my life,” San Francisco’s new mayor London Breed said in her inauguration speech Wednesday. “So many of my friends have left San Francisco. I don’t want to see this happen to the next generation.” Addressing a crowd from the steps of City Hall, the first black female mayor of the city outlined an ambitious to-do list to fix some of the city’s biggest problems.

Fleeing war-torn homes for crippling rents—California housing costs creating harsh reality for refugees
CALmatters
Khisrow Jan has $800 in the bank. Rent is $1,850, and was due four days ago. He’s late with his payment—again. While Jan gets ready for work—driving an Uber in San Francisco for the next 12 hours — his 4-year-old daughter Shukula barricades the front door of their two-bedroom apartment in Antioch, a far-flung Bay Area suburb east of Oakland. “I need to work. Need to make some money,” Jan, 34, playfully tells his daughter.

Editorial: How bad is California’s housing crisis? Ask San Francisco’s mayor
San Diego Union Tribune
As bad as the housing crisis is in San Diego, there are regular, jaw-dropping reminders from San Francisco and Silicon Valley that the problem is much worse there. One came in April, when a condemned, mildew-ridden home in Fremont with holes in the roof sold for $1.23 million. Another came last month, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that families in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties who made as much as $117,400 a year were eligible to live in low-income housing projects.

TENANT RIGHTS

Majority of Concord Residents Live in Fear of Eviction: Report
NBC – Bay Area
About 75 percent of Concord residents live in fear of eviction because of the city’s relatively easy eviction policies, according to a new report. In some cases, families are giving up groceries and medical treatment, just to pay the ever-increasing rent, the report by the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) found.

Evicted Long Beach tenants are fighting to stay
Long Beach Press Telegram
The confusion hit tenants of a Wrigley apartment building when eviction notices suddenly popped up on their doors over the past few months. First, it was an elderly couple. Then, it was the family of four down the hall. Jerry Alonzo, who has lived in the building on Chestnut Avenue for five years, said he’s seen nothing like this before. But when a new owner and management company took over the building at the end of April, the eviction notices kept coming to neighbors, and ultimately, landed on his door in June.

Capitol Chat: Politico’s Jeremy White On Rent Control
Capital Public Radio
Rising rents and home prices are driving California residents to reconsider how the state regulates housing. Voters will decide on a controversial ballot measure this November that could give local governments more leeway in enacting rent control. The campaign to block that ballot measure is already underway. Joining us today to help us understand it all is Politico reporter Jeremy White.

News Network: Rent Control In Sacramento
Capital Public Radio
The housing crisis in California has hit home in Sacramento in a number of ways, including sky-rocketing rents. As conversations continue at the state and local level on rent control, CapRadio’s Senior Editor for News Nick Miller explains what’s happening in Sacramento. We also hear from Michelle Pariset, a policy advocate with Public Advocates Inc., about the city rent control effort.

Campaign against rent control in Santa Cruz gathers steam
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Expect this fall’s campaign over just cause eviction and rent control in the city of Santa Cruz to be expensive. The measure would require relocation assistance for tenants evicted without just cause from single-family homes, accessory dwellings and condos as well as apartments built before February 1995 and limit rent increases in apartments built before that date.

Repealing Costa-Hawkins Can Only Make Things Worse For California Residents
Forbes
This November, Californians will vote on a ballot proposal to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, known most commonly as simply “Costa-Hawkins.” The statewide law, enacted in 1995, limits rent control to buildings built before February of 1995 and prohibits municipalities from expanding rent control to include “vacancy control.” Vacancy control means taking away the right of landlords to increase the rents of vacant units to match market price.

We need common-sense solutions to fix housing crisis, not rent control
Sacramento Bee
Sacramento faces a serious affordable housing problem. The Bee editorial board calls on the mayor, city council, developers and SEIU-backed tenants’ organizations to set aside their differences and forge a compromise that takes aggressive action (“The mayor has a plan to fix the housing crisis. Now he needs help,” Editorials, July 16). We agree. That’s why our coalition, Citizens for Affordable Housing, is committed to finding fair and common-sense answers.

Rent control laws nearly destroyed parts of New York City. They could do the same to California
Orange County Register
In November, Californians will vote on Proposition 10, which would repeal the state law that limits cities from regulating rents on buildings occupied after February 1995. With rents skyrocketing across the state, capping rents may seem attractive, but experience shows rent control laws have serious downsides, including stifling investment in housing and building improvements, creating shortages and wasting time and money in litigation.

State Democratic Leaders Endorse Proposition to Repeal Rent Control Law
KQED
California Democratic leaders have endorsed Proposition 10, which would allow California cities to increase the use of rent control. Board members overwhelmingly voted on Sunday to endorse the proposition for the November elections. Proposition 10 seeks to repeal Costa-Hawkins, a state law that prevents many cities from applying rent control to units built after 1995. Costa-Hawkins also allows landlords to raise the price on rent-controlled units when a tenant moves out.

HOUSING POLICY

Citing housing shortage, Berkeley votes to crack down on vacant buildings
Mercury News
In a new effort to squeeze more homes into a chronically under-supplied market, officials here are zeroing in on the city’s low-hanging housingfruit — vacant buildings. The Berkeley City Council this week voted to start fining some landlords who let their properties sit empty too long, hoping the move will help boost the city’s housing stock and clean up its unsightly rundown buildings. “We’re in a housing crisis,” Mayor Jesse Arreguin said Tuesday before the council vote.

San Diego council votes to limit Airbnb rentals to primary residences only
San Diego Union Tribune
In a move that will dramatically alter San Diego’s home sharing landscape, the City Council Monday voted to outlaw vacation rentals in secondary homes, limiting short-term stays to one’s primary residence only. The effect of the action will be to curtail investor activity in the short-term rental market while also barring residents and out-of-towners from hosting short-term stays in multiple properties other than where they reside.

Editorial: The mayor has a plan to fix Sacramento’s housing crisis. If this happens, it could actually work
Sacramento Bee
For decades, Sacramento has been proud of its reputation as an affordable corner of California, accessible to a cross-section of people unlike the exclusive, uber-rich enclaves along the coast. But a recent report on the housing market puts the capital city’s trajectory in alarming perspective. In the past 12 months, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment here has shot up a whopping 8 percent — three times faster than in any other major metropolitan area in the United States, according to Hotpads, a subsidiary of real estate tracking firm Zillow.

Editorial: Short-term vacation rentals: Put residents first, San Diego
San Diego Union Tribune
The housing crisis isn’t acute in California just because of NIMBYism and environmental laws that make new home construction so costly and complicated. It’s also acute because of the extreme desirability of living in — and vacationing in — much of the state, especially beautiful coastal regions with great weather like, yes, San Diego. The emergence of online portals that make it easy to rent homes for short visits has made investing in homes in these areas a gold mine.

Editorial: Two new threats to building the housing California needs
North Bay Business Journal
It’s nearly impossible to find anyone who doesn’t think the North Bay needs more housing – and housing that is affordable to someone whose income is less than six figures. For local leaders, the October wildfires transformed a housing crisis into a housing emergency, and officials are responding with new, bold thinking.

Developers also have a plan to solve Sacramento’s housing crisis. You’ll hate this part
Sacramento Bee
With rent increases that continue to rank among the nation’s highest and scores of tenants who continue to worry about being forced into homelessness, there are plenty of reasons for Sacramentans to be skeptical of the new wave of promises coming from developers who have made so much money in the booming housing market.

These Tax Laws Are Holding Back California’s Housing Market
Bloomberg
Forty years ago last month, Californians passed Proposition 13, the property-tax limitation that helped spark a national tax revolt. It’s still popular. In a March survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 57 percent of residents, and 65 percent of likely voters, said it had been mostly good for the state, with only 23 percent saying it had been mostly bad. Prop 13 limited local property taxes to 1 percent of purchase price (or of the assessed value in 1975) and capped subsequent increases at 2 percent a year. It also required a two-thirds legislative majority for new state taxes and two-thirds voter approval for new local taxes.

How Will The New Tax Law Shake Up The Housing Market?
Forbes
Just a couple of years ago, homeownership rates were low, and many analysts were blaming millennials. Burdened by more student debt than previous generations and typically inclined to marry and start a family later in life, millennials were a factor in 2016 homeownership rates falling to the lowest levels recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau going back to 1965. What a difference a couple of years makes! Homeownership is rising, and millennials are leading the way.

130 affordable housing units result of land transfer between SF agencies
San Francisco Chronicle
A proposed property transfer between San Francisco agencies that could yield up to 130 new affordable housing units was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee. The roughly 30,750-square-foot property at the corner of Geneva and San Jose avenues — known as the Upper Yard — is being used by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency as an employee parking lot.

Week of July 9

Capitol Chat: Politico’s Jeremy White On Rent Control
Capital Public Radio
Rising rents and home prices are driving California residents to reconsider how the state regulates housing. Voters will decide on a controversial ballot measure this November that could give local governments more leeway in enacting rent control. The campaign to block that ballot measure is already underway. Joining us today to help us understand it all is Politico reporter Jeremy White.

San Francisco metro area has lost 31,000 home-owning families in 10 years
San Francisco Chronicle
It’s no secret the San Francisco Bay Area can be a tough place to raise kids, and now a new report sheds light on those families sticking out. Looking at data from the U.S. Census Bureau, RentCafe found the number of families with children who own their homes in the San Francisco metro area has dropped dramatically, while an increasing number are renting.

San Francisco is so expensive, its new mayor has never been able to afford a home there
San Francisco Chronicle
“I’ve been a renter all my life,” San Francisco’s new mayor London Breed said in her inauguration speech Wednesday. “So many of my friends have left San Francisco. I don’t want to see this happen to the next generation.” Addressing a crowd from the steps of City Hall, the first black female mayor of the city outlined an ambitious to-do list to fix some of the city’s biggest problems.

Repealing Costa-Hawkins Can Only Make Things Worse For California Residents
Forbes
This November, Californians will vote on a ballot proposal to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, known most commonly as simply “Costa-Hawkins.” The statewide law, enacted in 1995, limits rent control to buildings built before February of 1995 and prohibits municipalities from expanding rent control to include “vacancy control.” Vacancy control means taking away the right of landlords to increase the rents of vacant units to match market price.

California ordered to restore $331 million to fund for homeowners
San Francisco Chronicle
When California received $410 million in 2012 as part of a nationwide settlement with major banks accused of abusive foreclosures, Gov. Jerry Brown used $331 million to pay state agencies in housing and other programs to cover their deficits. Now a state appeals court has ordered the money be used for its original intent: to help homeowners who suffered foreclosures.

Cities where Americans are struggling to afford their homes
USA Today
The government, as well as lenders, generally advise that Americans spend no more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Households spending more than that on rent or mortgage payments are considered cost burdened and often do not have enough money left over for other necessities. Still, 32 percent of American households are cost burdened, and in some of the country’s more expensive cities, the share is far higher.

Americans Burdened by Increasing Housing Costs, Slow Wage Gains
Bloomberg
$500 more, each and every month. That’s the additional cost of a mortgage payment if you bought a median-priced home in San Jose, California, in the first quarter of 2018 compared to late last year. The mortgage payment would be about $4,600 compared to $4,100 due to higher lending rates and increasing home prices.

Under US housing policies, homeowners mostly win, while renters mostly lose
Brookings
The public sector plays a relatively small role in U.S. housing markets, compared to many other developed countries. Because housing is essential for families’ well-being, however, policymakers take keen interest in the availability, quality, cost, and location of housing. In a previous article, I presented a set of guidelines to make housing policy more efficient and equitable. This article explores the most important policies that currently shape U.S. housing markets, focusing particularly on how policies impact different families and housing market segments.

Mountain View: Landlord-backed initiative fails to qualify for ballot
Mercury News
A controversial initiative that backers say would have reformed renter protections in Mountain View failed to qualify for the November ballot, leaving proponents eyeing another try in 2020. Laura Teutschel, spokeswoman for Measure V Too Costly, said the initiative was “within hundreds” of the roughly 5,000 signatures from the city’s registered voters needed to qualify for the 2018 election.

Granny flats: More popular than ever, but still mired in bureaucracy
Mercury News
This year, Megan Kellogg’s mother moved into a new in-law unit in her own backyard, freeing up the main house for Kellogg’s family of three. Building it was the easy part. Getting the blessing from a Bay Area city was another story. “It was horrific,” said Kellogg. “The worst part of the entire process was dealing with the city. It took us almost a year to get the permit. It was awful.”

Cities where Americans are struggling to afford their homes
USA Today
The government, as well as lenders, generally advise that Americans spend no more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Households spending more than that on rent or mortgage payments are considered cost burdened and often do not have enough money left over for other necessities. Still, 32 percent of American households are cost burdened, and in some of the country’s more expensive cities, the share is far higher.

Americans Burdened by Increasing Housing Costs, Slow Wage Gains
Bloomberg
$500 more, each and every month. That’s the additional cost of a mortgage payment if you bought a median-priced home in San Jose, California, in the first quarter of 2018 compared to late last year. The mortgage payment would be about $4,600 compared to $4,100 due to higher lending rates and increasing home prices.

The Outrageous Burden of Housing Costs in Southern California
NBC – Los Angeles
Housing costs are climbing across Southern California, but low-income families are the ones being hit the hardest. If you pay more than 30 percent of your income on housing, you’re considered “burdened.” Experts say it means you may not have enough for necessities like food, clothing, transportation and medical care. But a large number of people in Southern California now pay more than that.

Income not keeping pace with rent for affordable housing
ABC – San Diego
$64 a month: That’s the difference between a San Diego couple having a roof over their heads or being out on the street. They live in affordable housing and the rent just increased. “I was like all excited to live here and then it’s just like a big drop, you have to leave,” said Carolyn Moore.

Moore and her husband moved into their Oceanside apartment in December. They signed a one-year lease paying $992 a month.

The new American dream: Leasing your house
Mercury News
A noisy neighbor drove the Beyer family from their apartment into a rental house nine years ago. “The guy had his surround sound on every single night. It drove me crazy,” said Bob Beyer, 47, who now rents a one-story house in Huntington Beach for $2,200 a month. “I had to knock on the door to tell him to turn it down so I could sleep. I had to call the police several times.” The switch from renting apartments to renting a three-bedroom house on a quiet cul-de-sac gave the family a peaceful home at a reasonable rent.

Rents climb faster in Sacramento than in any other major U.S. metro
Sacramento Bee
Median rent rose faster in Sacramento during the past 12 months than in any other major U.S. metro, according to Hotpads, a subsidiary of tracking firm Zillow.com. Monthly median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the four-county region was $1,695 during the last three months, up 8.2 percent from the same period last year. That’s roughly triple the rate of rental growth seen nationwide.

Priced out: Steep rent increases at Modesto complex a sign of a larger problem
Modesto Bee
Eighty-six-year-old Neftely “Lee” Kennedy said she did not expect that at her age it would be a struggle to afford housing, but that’s exactly where she finds herself after the Modesto apartment complex she has lived in for several years recently was sold to new owners. Kennedy and other tenants at Spring Glen Apartments on Scenic Drive received notices June 1 stating rents were going up Aug. 1. The increases are substantial.

Rising rents, home prices in Berkeley and the Bay Area displacing thousands
Berkeleyside
At first blush, Happy Skywalker would seem like just the kind of person who makes Berkeley distinctive. As a homeless teenager, she taught herself web-development skills using the free computer in the library, and she once ran for City Council. But, like so many Berkeley residents, she found herself on the wrong end of an eviction notice in 2017. She fought the eviction, but after six months, worn out, she stopped fighting, cashed in her life savings and bought a motorhome to live in. 

WORKFORCE HOUSING

Google’s Planned Downtown San Jose Complex Comes With Upgrades, Housing Concerns
NBC – Los Angeles
San Jose city leaders gave final approval to Google’s massive downtown office complex that will bring with it both upgrades and concerns about housing. Construction of the 1 million-square-foot complex will begin soon on the block between Autumn Parkway and West Julian Street. The new development is expected to house an estimated 5,000 workers.

 

Rent control and tenants’ rights set to be larger political issues in 2018 elections
Curbed
Earlier this year, San Francisco-based California State Senator Scott Wiener turned local zoning codes into a national news story when he introduced the Transit Zoning Bill, SB 827, which would have allowed new housing near major transit hubs to be built up to eight stories tall, overriding local zoning concerns.

Editorial: Rent control isn’t the answer to our housing crisis
Orange County Register
In response to rising housing costs, activists across Southern California have pushed for rent control. Efforts have been made this year in cities like Inglewood, Long Beach, Pasadena and Pomona to put rent control measures on the ballot. After all, what could a more straightforward way of dealing with rising housing costs than having the government pass laws to limit rising housing costs?

Under US housing policies, homeowners mostly win, while renters mostly lose
Brookings
The public sector plays a relatively small role in U.S. housing markets, compared to many other developed countries. Because housing is essential for families’ well-being, however, policymakers take keen interest in the availability, quality, cost, and location of housing. In a previous article, I presented a set of guidelines to make housing policy more efficient and equitable. This article explores the most important policies that currently shape U.S. housing markets, focusing particularly on how policies impact different families and housing market segments.

Californians face November decision on $2-billion spending plan for homeless housing
Los Angeles Times
Californians will decide in November whether to borrow $2 billion to fund new housing for homeless residents. Gov. Jerry Brown authorized the ballot measure Wednesday when he signed the state’s annual budget and related legislation. The measure would draw funding from dollars generated by Proposition 63, a 1% income tax surcharge on millionaires passed in 2004 that funds mental health services. Housing built or rehabilitated under the plan would be designated for mentally ill residents living on the streets.

Housing Secretary Carson pledges commitment to fair housing
Associated Press
Housing Secretary Ben Carson told lawmakers Wednesday that his department “has, is now and will continue to rigorously protect people from discrimination regardless of their color, race, national origin, sex, disability or family status.” But during a three-hour hearing, Carson faced harsh questioning from Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee who were less convinced of his commitment to upholding the tenets of the Fair Housing Act, which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

Is California’s legacy environmental law protecting the state’s beauty or blocking affordable housing?
CALmatters
Redwood City approved more than a year ago the kind of affordable-housing project California desperately needs: a 20-unit building, downtown, near transit lines, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where the state’s housing crisis is most severe. The developer was a nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. But today the lot remains vacant, except for a row of portable toilets, a trailer and a dumpster.

Even though the deadline has passed, the California Assn. of Realtors still hopes to strike deal
Los Angeles Times
Last week, the deadline passed for proponents of California initiatives to pull their measures off the state’s November ballot. But that hasn’t stopped one powerful interest group from hoping it can still strike a deal with lawmakers. The California Assn. of Realtors collected enough signatures from voters to qualify an initiative that would allow homeowners older than 55 to take a portion of their Proposition 13 property tax benefits with them if they move to a new home.

How granny flats help with California’s housing shortage
San Diego Union Tribune
California — and San Diego County in particular — has an affordable housing shortage. Coming to a consensus on adequately addressing this shortage has understandably hit speed bumps due to concerns about the environment, public safety and other quality-of-life issues. However, doing nothing is not an option, not at a time when rents and home sale prices are continuing to rise and threatening the financial stability of more Californians.

Housing crisis prompts San Diego to further loosen rules for live-work spaces
San Diego Union Tribune
San Diego is expanding its plan to use “live-work” spaces to ease the city’s housing crisis and get commuters off the road. The goal is encouraging more people like dentists, accountants and comic store owners to start living in the same place where they work. City officials say it’s one of the quickest and cheapest ways to boost the local supply of affordable housing.

Editorial: Cutting red tape to build needed housing
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
California doesn’t have a shortage of stadiums and arenas for its pro sports franchises. And maybe, just maybe, the Golden State’s chronic shortage of housing could be reduced a little bit if residential development benefited from the favors state lawmakers have granted to the owners of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, among others. The NBA teams got fast passes — expedited environmental reviews with protection from protracted legal challenges.

Do Democrats in Sacramento really want to fix Prop. 13 problems?
Orange County Register
If it’s ever to be fixed, only a ballot proposition can repair the largest and most obvious inequity caused by Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 tax-cutting initiative that causes next-door neighbors in identical homes to pay vastly different sums for property taxes. But the other big problem area of the tax-cutting measure originally sponsored by the late political gadflies Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann could be solved by a simple vote of the Legislature.

This man cost Sacramento County more in one year than any other homeless person
Sacramento Bee
By his own admission, Pete Taneyhill was a “dirtbag” back then, living in abandoned houses, stealing to feed his drug habit and shooting methamphetamine into his veins between stints at the Sacramento County jail. Those activities earned him a dubious spot on a list recently compiled for the county’s Department of Human Assistance. He used more county services than any other homeless person in the agency’s records, racking up $149,797.50 in jail, emergency response and behavioral health costs in a single year.

Facebook founder’s fund pledges $250,000 to back affordable housing ballot measure
Mercury News
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative wants you to vote yes on Prop. 1 — a state ballot measure that would funnel money to affordable housing programs — and it’s ponying up $250,000 to help make sure that happens. The initiative, started by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, said Monday it will donate the money to advance the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act of 2018, also known as Prop. 1.

San Francisco is expensive — and rents are the highest in the world, study says
Sacramento Bee
It’s universally acknowledged that San Francisco is expensive — but are its rents the most expensive in the world? Yes — according to a new study from financial advice site Walletwyse. The study took crowd-sourced data from Numbeo, a site that looks at cost-of living statistics, to find average monthly rent in 540 cities around the world. San Francisco came in first, with an average rent of $3,500.

Many Landlords Don’t Accept Rental Vouchers, Adding To Homeless Problem
KPBS
Millions of dollars are pouring into programs to help the homeless find permanent housing in San Diego. But even with subsidized rents and incentive programs, many landlords refuse to accept government-backed housing vouchers. Ksey Motes is a single mom with three sons. She became homeless after back problems forced her to stop working. Motes went on disability leave from her job at Walmart in San Marcos.

Amid crisis, voters will confront housing options
Capitol Weekly
As California rents and property values continue to rise, it should come as no surprise that three housing-related measures will face voters on the November ballot, targeting veterans’ home loans, local rent control and housing construction for the homeless. All are a direct result of California’s soaring costs. Those costs are daunting, according to Apartment List and other cost-tracking firms.

Rent control and tenants’ rights set to be larger political issues in 2018 elections
Curbed
Earlier this year, San Francisco-based California State Senator Scott Wiener turned local zoning codes into a national news story when he introduced the Transit Zoning Bill, SB 827, which would have allowed new housing near major transit hubs to be built up to eight stories tall, overriding local zoning concerns.


Week of July 2

Is California’s legacy environmental law protecting the state’s beauty or blocking affordable housing?
CALmatters
Redwood City approved more than a year ago the kind of affordable-housing project California desperately needs: a 20-unit building, downtown, near transit lines, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where the state’s housing crisis is most severe. The developer was a nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. But today the lot remains vacant, except for a row of portable toilets, a trailer and a dumpster.

Even though the deadline has passed, the California Assn. of Realtors still hopes to strike deal
Los Angeles Times
Last week, the deadline passed for proponents of California initiatives to pull their measures off the state’s November ballot. But that hasn’t stopped one powerful interest group from hoping it can still strike a deal with lawmakers. The California Assn. of Realtors collected enough signatures from voters to qualify an initiative that would allow homeowners older than 55 to take a portion of their Proposition 13 property tax benefits with them if they move to a new home.

How granny flats help with California’s housing shortage
San Diego Union Tribune
California — and San Diego County in particular — has an affordable housing shortage. Coming to a consensus on adequately addressing this shortage has understandably hit speed bumps due to concerns about the environment, public safety and other quality-of-life issues. However, doing nothing is not an option, not at a time when rents and home sale prices are continuing to rise and threatening the financial stability of more Californians.

Do Democrats in Sacramento really want to fix Prop. 13 problems?
Orange County Register
If it’s ever to be fixed, only a ballot proposition can repair the largest and most obvious inequity caused by Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 tax-cutting initiative that causes next-door neighbors in identical homes to pay vastly different sums for property taxes. But the other big problem area of the tax-cutting measure originally sponsored by the late political gadflies Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann could be solved by a simple vote of the Legislature.

The battle over rent control is headed for the November ballot
KALW
Rents have increased 40 percent across the Bay Area in the last three years. Six of the country’s 11 most expensive rental markets are in California. Rent control can only help so much — because it’s limited by a state law known as Costa Hawkins. But now, a ballot measure to repeal that law has qualified for the November ballot.

Mercury News
Bay Area rents continue to rise, fueling the debate over a November ballot measure to allow price controls on more California properties. Rents increased in June across the region, led by a 2.5 percent median increase in Oakland from last year, a 1.7 percent increase in San Jose and 1 percent growth in San Francisco, according to a study by Apartment List.
San Diego Union Tribune
Aiming to prevent discrimination against the poor and minorities in a tight housing market, San Diego is considering a new law that would prohibit landlords from rejecting tenants because they use federal vouchers to help pay their rent. Supporters of the proposed law say letting landlords blackball people who qualify for federal vouchers is partly responsible for San Diego’s stark racial segregation, with minorities dominating southern areas and whites dominant in northern areas. 
San Diego Union Tribune
A statewide vote to allow more widespread rent control could have big implications for San Diego County if it passes. The effort, led by tenants rights groups and bankrolled by Los Angeles HIV/AIDS activist Michael Weinstein, qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot in June. If approved by voters, the initiative would repeal a 1995 law that limited county and city governments’ ability to slow rent hikes.
Sacramento Business Journal
A workforce housing development in Martis Valley was approved for a $16.25 million grant, which will be used to build 56 apartments and upgrade transportation systems in the area. The grant for the project came from California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which helps support housing and infrastructure programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rents climb faster in Sacramento than in any other major U.S. metro
Sacramento Bee
Median rent rose faster in Sacramento during the past 12 months than in any other major U.S. metro, according to Hotpads, a subsidiary of tracking firm Zillow.com. Monthly median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the four-county region was $1,695 during the last three months, up 8.2 percent from the same period last year. That’s roughly triple the rate of rental growth seen nationwide.

Priced out: Steep rent increases at Modesto complex a sign of a larger problem
Modesto Bee
Eighty-six-year-old Neftely “Lee” Kennedy said she did not expect that at her age it would be a struggle to afford housing, but that’s exactly where she finds herself after the Modesto apartment complex she has lived in for several years recently was sold to new owners. Kennedy and other tenants at Spring Glen Apartments on Scenic Drive received notices June 1 stating rents were going up Aug. 1. The increases are substantial.

 

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