Senator Atkins Introduces Legislation to Create New Housing for Lower-Income Californians

December 6, 2016

Shortly after being sworn in as the senator representing California’s 39th District on Monday, Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced legislation, SB 2, to create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

“The Legislature must address California’s severe housing crisis,” Atkins said. “While local communities largely control housing development, there are ways the state can help. Considering how hard it has become for an increasing number of Californians to afford housing, we need to step up.”

SB 2 is similar to AB 1335, which then-Assembly Speaker Atkins introduced in 2015. It seeks to fund construction of affordable homes on an ongoing basis through a modest recording fee on certain types of real-estate transactions, excluding home sales.

Added in SB 2 are two allowable uses for the funding: local community-plan updates and fiscal incentives for local governments to approve new housing for low-income families. Providing funding for planning updates ensures that new development reflects current community desires. Providing funding for low-income-housing incentives helps create more diverse neighborhoods, a proven way to battle socially harmful economic segregation.

“No matter what steps are taken to increase the market-rate housing stock, there will always be a need for homes that are affordable to those among us with the lowest incomes,” Atkins said. “This bill will help hundreds, if not thousands, of families every year.”

Co-authors who have signed on to SB 2 include Senators Jim Beall, Steven Bradford, Bill Dodd, Robert M. Hertzberg, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Holly J. Mitchell, Richard D. Roth, Nancy Skinner, Bob Wieckowski and Scott D. Wiener, as well as Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond