Senator Atkins’ Affordable-Housing Bill Reaches Major Milestone, Passes on Senate Floor

July 6, 2017

The California Senate today voted 27-12 to pass SB 2 – the Building Homes and Jobs Act – legislation authored by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) that will create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. SB 2 now moves on to the state Assembly for consideration.

“On behalf of the thousands of California families who will benefit each year from SB 2 and the housing stability it will bring, I want to thank my Senate colleagues who voted for this important bill,” Atkins said. “After today’s vote, I am increasingly hopeful that relief is coming soon for many hard-working people.”

SB 2 would create a new, reliable source of funding for affordable homes through a modest fee on the recording of certain types of real-estate documents, excluding sales of residential and commercial property.

Housing advocates praised the Senate’s vote.

“Housing California is excited to see SB 2 make its way through the Legislature,” said Lisa Hershey, executive director of Housing California. “The Assembly now has two funding proposals in its house, SB 2 and AB 71, that members must pass if we want to make a dent in the affordable-housing catastrophe plaguing millions of Californians who struggle to make ends meet.”

“The Senate’s bold action today to pass SB 2 and secure reliable funding for affordable housing is precisely the meaningful intervention we need in California's housing and homelessness crises,” said Ray Pearl, executive director of the California Housing Consortium. “With rents only continuing to climb and homelessness rates rising in every part of the state, Californians need their leaders to step in with reliable solutions like SB 2 that will get affordable homes built for struggling families, seniors, college students and veterans.”

California’s housing crisis is worsening day by day. Each year, the state falls an additional 100,000 homes short of what’s needed in order for California to stabilize housing costs when compared with the rest of the country.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 31 percent of mortgaged homeowners and 46 percent of renters spend more than 35 percent of their income on housing, compared with 22 percent and 41 percent, respectively, nationwide. And according to the Center for Housing Policy, 21 percent of California households spend at least half of their income on housing. While California is home to 12 percent of the nation’s population overall, it accounts for 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population.

SB 2 would generate roughly $250 million each year to build and renovate affordable housing. Over a five-year period, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, taken together with an additional $4.6 billion in expected leveraged funding, would create more than 20,000 new and rehabilitated homes and nearly 57,000 jobs.