The top five most common occupations in California pay less than the wage needed to afford a home – but this is more than just an affordability issue. We must recognize that until we address our housing crisis, we won’t be able to solve the issues that matter most to Californians.
For example, enduring longer commutes to access a living wage job increases pollutant emissions, heightens stress that can be detrimental to personal health, decreases priceless time with family and leaves a big dent in our pocketbooks.
Housing is environmental justice. Housing is health care. Housing is the economy. And right now, housing is arguably the most pressing issue in California. This is why it is so important to me that we reform our housing policies, spur new production and hold accountable jurisdictions that aren’t doing their parts to build sorely needed projects.
Last November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal to build nearly 500 apartment units on a Nordstrom parking lot. Denying smart, affordable, transit-oriented housing exacerbates our existing homelessness and affordability crises, and it puts additional pressure on our communities.
East bay burden
Here in the East Bay, we feel the burdens when large cities like San Francisco fail to approve new affordable housing developments and place additional strain on our market.
San Francisco is the slowest jurisdiction in the state to move housing projects to construction, and it is critical to communities throughout the state that they begin to do more to help California build our way out of this crisis.
This is why I am pleased that the Department of Housing and Community Development will conduct the first Housing Policy and Practice Review of San Francisco. This is an important move toward accountability and removing barriers to production.
One city building more won’t be enough. We need to remove barriers to construction statewide, and I’m proud to be authoring a number of bills that will do just that.
AB 2011, which I am joint-authoring with Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, will help us build more homes on underutilized lands while honoring our commitments to our workers. AB 2170 will give California’s families the opportunity to put an offer on a home before Wall Street corporations. AB 2536 will bring transparency and accountability standards to certain fees on development. And AB 2234, a bill I’m co-authoring with Assemblymember Robert Rivas, will bring clarity and streamlining to the post-entitlement housing permit process.
I remain committed to working with the governor, my colleagues and anyone else invested in California’s success to finally turn the corner on our housing crisis and set us on a path to a future where every resident has a stable, affordable home.
If you would like to learn more about my housing legislation, or about any other matters important to you, please call my Concord office at 925-521-1511.