Dec 4, 2018
Today we’re proud to announce we’re taking a major step forward to address the most pressing issue facing our state: California’s housing crisis.
In dozens of California cities, including our own, the housing crisis is jeopardizing our engines of economic and social progress. The result is crushingly familiar to us all: Skyrocketing rates of homelessness; tent camps springing up everywhere; workers struggling to make the rent; teachers, police officers, nurses, and other vital service providers commuting long hours in spirit-breaking traffic; businesses struggling to attract and retain workers, even those with high incomes; and the acrid pollution that clogs our air, sickens our children, and exacerbates climate change.
At California YIMBY, we believe that housing is a human right. There is no excuse for denying another human being the basic right to shelter, to the dignity of a private room and place to bathe and eat and receive guests and family.
It is for this reason that we are proud to join other housing champions in the California legislature to take urgent action to give us new tools for the rapid production of new housing in and around our cities and transportation hubs: Senate Bill 50, The More HOMES (Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, Equity, and Stability) Act.
More HOMES will bring meaningful reform of our zoning codes, along with incentives to allow the types of housing that is necessary to meet the needs of a growing economy and population. It includes strong protections for renters that make sure we can have responsible development without displacement. It includes rules that increase housing choices in walkable areas near existing transit — which are necessary to address the growing climate crisis — while also reducing parking requirements that pile on construction costs and contribute to traffic and pollution.
More HOMES is a very strong bill — and even still, we’re committed to working with our partners and allies to make the bill even stronger. It includes:
- The ability for cities to rapidly approve new, infill housing near existing transit stations. This can include everything from duplexes to modest five-story apartments.
- Aggressive protections for existing renters against displacement and eviction, including a prohibition on demolishing housing occupied by renters. Our current eviction and displacement crisis is driven almost entirely by the housing shortage, as new residents with higher incomes can out-bid existing, lower-income residents for our extremely limited housing stock. In recognition of this deeply unfair situation, we support policies that make sure new housing development takes place without spurring direct displacement of longstanding communities, including restrictions ensuring buildings currently occupied by renters may not be demolished.
- Special consideration for communities of concern. We recognize that many communities across our state should be given special status to ensure that they are rightfully protected from displacement and gentrification, while also receiving the economic and other benefits of expanded housing choices and transit development.
- Incentives for developers to build more mixed market-rate and affordable housing. While we believe the housing crisis is touching every Californian, we are aware that low-income residents have been hurt the most and have suffered from housing insecurity and discrimination for decades. We do not accept the notion that they should be cordoned off in remote housing developments, isolated from economic opportunity and out of sight of our wealthier neighborhoods: Progress will be obtained when our neighbors live and thrive in economically integrated neighborhoods. We support granting additional incentives for projects that set aside a substantial portion of their dwelling units for low-income residents.
- Elimination of parking requirements. Outdated requirements that new buildings include off-street parking adds as much as $50,000 per parking space to the cost of a project. It also leads to more driving, which is the leading source of climate pollution in our state. By eliminating parking requirements in certain areas, the state can help cities lower construction costs, reduce pollution, and make our cities cleaner, healthier, more affordable places to live and work.
With the More HOMES Act this
Could become this
We’ve watched in agony as the recent, catastrophic fires have ripped through our communities, pushing tens of thousands of Californians into an uncertain future. But the tragedy has served to strengthen our resolve to act. We seek to ensure that every Californian has a place to live — and that the homes we provide help us address the growing climate crisis by reducing the pollution caused by the endless traffic we suffer through every day to get to work, to drop off or pick up the kids, to go to the doctor, and other daily tasks.