Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly.
With the governor’s signature, the California Legislature in June approved a series of housing measures that would provide more than $6 billion to build affordable housing, increase rental subsidies and help struggling renters.
But the governor could sign a separate housing bill that would raise rents for the lowest- and middle-income renters who spend up to 30 percent of their income on housing, forcing them to cut back on basic necessities.
A coalition of more than 60 consumer, consumer-justice, and development groups in the Bay Area said in a letter last week to Gov. Jerry Brown that his signing of the governor’s office’s housing bill — AB-15 — would cause more harm than good by “undermining efforts to build public housing and end homelessness.” The Senate unanimously approved the bill on June 7.
“Californians will be voting on this bill this November in what is a very important election year,” said the letter, co-signed by the Alliance for a Just Society; the Consumer Federation of California; the California Housing Partnership; the Coalition for Economic Survival; the Economic Roundtable; the Institute for Energy Efficiency; the Los Angeles Alliance for a Just Economy; the Los Angeles Alliance for a Healthy City; the South Bay Coalition for Economic Health; UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Evaluation; UC Merced’s Center for Housing and Community Development; and a number of other groups.
“The governor should not compromise our housing needs for the sake of this massive tax increase,” they said.
More than half of California’s renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Nearly 45 percent spend more than half their income on rent.
The statewide housing bill would increase rent assistance for 30,000 renters who spend more than 10 percent of their income on housing. It would offer rental subsidies for 11