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Housing Affordability and Health Leadership

Over the past two decades, BARHII has been supporting Bay Area public health departments to address health inequities through a range of initiatives towards healthy communities.  The critical housing challenges has demanded BARHII engagement in an assessment of the issue and the development of broad public health partnerships for strategic solutions.  Reflecting upon the scale, strength and knowledge of the health sector, we are exploring regional housing solutions driven by the leadership of our health agencies and hospitals.

BARHII’s recent housing work has been featured in the news, with articles available here and here.

Housing Affordability

In February of 2016, BARHII dove deep into the housing issues that are re-shaping the Bay Area. We created BARHII’s first brief on Housing Affordability, Displacement, and Health with the goal of shaping a housing future that promotes health equity.

When housing costs require increasingly high percentages of a family’s budget, families are forced to make choices that create unhealthy tradeoffs. Families forego medical care or prescriptions, live in substandard or overcrowded housing, or move farther and farther away from the Bay Area’s job centers. More information about all the mental and physical health impacts of long commutes, financial stress, and displacement are included in the brief itself.

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3Ps: Protection, Preservation, Production

Access to affordable housing is a task for which the Bay Area has reached consensus across many sectors.  We need to Protect people from displacement, Preserve existing affordable housing and Produce new affordable housing. Towards that end, we have many organizations, public agencies and developers working to address this task in a wide range of efforts ranging from new designs of accessory dwelling units, new local housing bonds, policies to retain existing affordability, or developers’ contributions to navigation centers.  Most residents are willing to contribute to the solutions.  However, the solutions are not matching the scale of the problem in the Bay Area. We need $400 million per year to Protect 300,000 low-income renter households; $500 million per year to preserve 65,000 affordable homes; and $1.4 billion per year to build 13,00 new homes. (Ending the Bay Area Housing Crisis, CASA)

Health Sector Strengths

The health sector has a grounded approach to the housing insecurity impact on health and is well positioned to elevate housing solutions at a regional scale given its current strengths:

  • Economic Strength: Professional services, Transportation and Utilities, and Health and Education are the largest sectors in our regional economy. Out of those three Health and Education have shown the highest and most consistent job growth.

  • Comprehensive Development Approach: The health sector has already engaged in various initiatives that recognizes housing solutions as an essential dimension of healthy communities.

  • Equity Practices: The health sector has developed a matured platform on social equity that addresses the needs of our disadvantage communities and the challenges of our middle-income families.

  • Knowledge and Innovation: The health sector has been a source of new knowledge that has high social value. This knowledge is now being expanded to incorporate access to housing as part of the Whole Care Person pilots or the Corporate Supportive Housing.

Building Collective Housing Solutions

As a coalition of Public Health Departments, BARHII has been building a foundation based on community participation in regional housing policies, communities of practice for integrating housing and health, trainings on race and equity trainings, and implementation of anchor institution strategies.  Through these learning processes and partnerships, BARHII has identified three potential complementary paths to contribute to healthy living conditions, institutional practices, and social equity at a regional scale.

2019 Housing Affordability Policy Priorities for Shared Prosperity

AB 1486 (Ting): Surplus Land​ - Approved by Governor

AB -1482 (Chiu): Tenant Protection –Rent Cap​ - Approved by Governor

SB – 18 (Skinner): Keep Californians Housed Act – Approved by Governor​

SB -5 (Beall): Building Affordable Housing and Inclusive Community​ -Vetoed by Governor

SB -6 (Beall): Residential Development - Surplus Property Collaboration​ - Approved by Governor

SB 329 (Mitchell): Section 8 Vouchers -Approved by Governor

Rise Together Housing Policy Agenda - 2018 Priorities

While there are many important bills introduced this year to impact housing in California, the following represent Rise Together's priority bills to positively impact vulnerable populations and access to affordable housing, as set forth by our Power of 9 Committee.  

AB 2065 (Ting) – California’s Surplus Land Act will strengthen provisions in existing law that guarantee affordable housing developers get first priority to purchase surplus land from local governments and agencies.

Check bill status (HELD IN COMMITTEE)

Fact Sheet

Rise Together Letter of Support

Sample Letter of Support

SB 912 (Beall, Skinner) - would make a one-time allocation of two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) in general funds for the purpose of funding programs that serve the homeless as well as existing housing programs administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development dedicated to housing low- and moderate-income families.


Fact Sheet

Sample Support Letter

SB 3 (Beall) Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act 2018 - $4 billion general obligation bond on the November 2018 ballot to fund affordable housing programs and the veteran’s homeownership program. This will be put to the voters on the Nov. 2018 Ballot

AB 2162 (Chiu, Daly) - Provides supportive housing to Californians experiencing chronic homelessness, streamlining and expediting the process of approving supportive housing applications.


Sample Support Letter

AB 3171 (Ting) Homeless Persons Services Block Grant - establish the Local Homelessness Solutions Program and create the Local Homelessness Solutions Account for the purpose of providing funding to cities, as defined, to create innovative and immediate solutions to the problems caused by homelessness

Check bill status (HELD IN COMMITTEE)

SB 828 (Wiener) — Would reform the current RHNA allocation method to create a fairer, more data driven, and more equitable process. It would also require communities to begin making up for past RHNA deficits.


Fact Sheet

2018 Housing Policy Webinar Series with Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California

Rise Together will host a series of free Housing Policy webinars with Non-Profit Housing Association this year to increase implementation of last year's housing policy wins and the upcoming ballot measure.  Click on REGISTER to learn more about each webinar.

How to keep our existing affordable homes affordable

Monday, October 22nd 10-11:30am

Every year, hundreds of homes in the Bay Area whose rents were previously restricted to levels affordable to low-income residents lapse and become market-rate. To combat this widespread problem, in 2017 the State of California passed AB 1521 which greatly strengthens the State’s Housing Preservation Law to ensure that affordable homes can remain affordable for the long-term. Join Danielle Mazzella from the California Housing Partnership Corporation to learn how you can use this law go ensure that the existing affordable homes in your city or county can remain affordable for the long term.  

Affordable Housing NOW! The Veterans and Affordable Housing Act Webinar

1. Presenter's PPT Slides

2. Webinar Recording

Wednesday, August 29th  10-11:30am

This November, California voters will have the opportunity to approve the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act which will provide $4 billion to build homes for our veterans, struggling families, people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities. Join JR Starrett, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California to learn about how you and your organization can make a difference this November in making our state a more affordable place to live. 

Housing Policy Webinar Series with Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH)

New Tools for Local Government to Promote Affordable Housing

Presenters' PPT Slides

Webinar Recording

NPH’s Policy Director, Michael Lane, and Regional Policy Manager, Pedro Galvao, discussed two important housing policy tools: AB 1505, the Palmer Fix, restoring the ability of local governments to require that within new market-rate rental housing developments, a percentage of apartments be made available at rents affordable to low and very-low income tenants and AB1598, giving local governments authority to capture growth in its property tax base and issue bonds against those tax revenues without voter approval in order to finance affordable housing.

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