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  • Alison Tse, Business Pathways Intern

Critical Statewide Propositions Affecting Affordable Housing This November

With November just around the corner, knowing which bills could affect the state of housing in California is crucial. Three critical statewide propositions will be included on the ballot in November 6th’s General Election. They are Proposition 1, Proposition 2, and Proposition 10.

Proposition 1, called the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs and funding, and projects and housing loans for veterans if approved. In action, Prop. 1 would fund affordable housing developments and subsidized home loans for California veterans.

Read more on Prop. 1 here.

Proposition 2, the No Place Like Home Act of 2018, would authorize the state to use revenue from Prop. 63 (2004) on $2 billion in revenue bonds for homelessness prevention among individuals with severe mental illness by creating permanent supportive housing if approved. Prop. 63, which enacted an additional 1 percent tax on incomes exceeding $1.0 million, is expected to generate some $2.23 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Read more on Prop. 2 here.

Proposition 10, called the Local Rent Control Initiative, would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins) of 1995, which is currently state law, if approved. Currently, property owners are able (and protected) to increase rents to market-prices after previous tenant(s) have moved out. If repealed, local governments "shall have the authority to adopt a local charter provision, ordinance or regulation that governs a landlord’s right to establish and increase rental rates on a dwelling or housing unit," meaning rent control would (likely) be expanded.

Read more on Prop. 10 here.

Currently in California, working 119 hours a week at a state housing wage of $32.68 is needed for a "fair market" two-bedroom rental home/apartment to be considered affordable (NLIHC). But there are only 120 hours in a work week, and state minimum wage is $11. In the Bay Area's metropolitan areas, the necessary state housing wage ranges from $35.44 in Santa Rosa to $60.02 in San Francisco. It is no secret the cost of living in the Bay Area continually rises more rapidly than the Bay Area’s median wage (BACEI). Urgent change is necessary. Prop. 1, Prop. 2, and Prop. 10 would encourage and expand increased housing affordability in the 9-County Bay Area and California.

With California's housing affordability at a new low, taking action in the next election could make the difference for the increasing rates of homelessness across the state, as well as working families with children, individuals, and veterans trying to find make ends meet and live comfortably. The housing crisis affects not one group of people—the effects of high unaffordability is an overwhelming reality for millions in California.

As a student who has yet to graduate, and who has yet to find a job, I am worried about the high cost of living in the city I grew up in. I would love to live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, it seems a far-fetched dream. Housing prices are skyrocketing (from already skyrocket high prices) and unless there are changes to increase housing affordability in the Bay Area and California, it will stay a dream. If this is stressful for me just to think about, it is devastating for those living through it.

Let your voice be heard and help make change, by voting this November.

Alison will be a third-year student at UC Santa Cruz this fall, with a major in Politics. She hopes to help make the world a great place, but at the very least, a better place for all.

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