The Homework Newsletter

The HomeWork: September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

Welcome to the September 14, 2021 Main edition of The HomeWork, the official newsletter of California YIMBY — legislative updates, news clips, housing research and analysis, and the latest writings from the California YIMBY team.

News from Sacramento

Friday, September 10 marked the end of the first year of a two-year regular session of the California State Legislature. California YIMBY is pleased to announce that five of our six top priority end-of-session bills are headed to the Governor for his consideration:

  • AB 602, which changes rules for fee nexus studies to generally allow smaller, more affordable homes to pay smaller, more affordable fees
  • SB 9, which will allow duplexes and lot splits in single-house zones
  • SB 10, which gives cities the ability to streamline the planning for small apartments near transit and in infill areas
  • SB 477, which will improve the collection of data on the success of state housing laws
  • SB 478, a “truth in zoning” bill which will prevent cities from using tricks to block legally-allowed housing:
Sadly, AB 1401, which would have reformed parking minimums near high quality transit stations in California, won’t be moving forward this year. We’re eager to work on the issue next year and thank Assemblymember Friedman for her leadership on this issue.

Housing Research & Analysis

How Transit Makes Housing More Affordable

A new study by Matan Singer at the University of Michigan covering twenty-seven metropolitan regions shows how proximity to transit can reduce housing cost burdens for low-income households by reducing transportation costs. While public transit is substantially less expensive than private car ownership, a dearth of affordable housing near transit means these areas are often out of reach for lower-income workers. The research provides further empirical evidence that auto-oriented sprawl is anathema to housing affordability, and that increasing housing affordability near transit should be a high priority.

Key takeaways:

  1. First, the good news: “transit-rich neighborhoods are more affordable than auto-oriented ones, mainly due to lower transportation costs.

  2. Unfortunately, in the 27 metro regions studied, “only a small share of neighborhoods and housing units are affordable to very-low income households.”

  3. The positive impact of transit on affordability is possible even if dense housing isn’t immediately adjacent to a train station: “a wide range of neighborhood types, and not just [transit-oriented development], may offer affordable options, including for lower-income households.”

Does Homeownership Influence Attitudes Toward Housing? Survey Says … Probably?

A new Michael Manville (2021) paper asks: how can coastal liberals reconcile their egalitarian values with exclusionary land-use policies that exacerbate inequality? California survey data suggests that homeownership can give liberals a NIMBY streak.

Key takeaways:

  1. Self-identified liberal homeowners in California are less likely to support new homebuilding relative to other liberal priorities.
  2. The same liberals are just as likely to support more funding for affordable housing, but less so if they might have to pay for it themselves.
  3. Liberals are more likely to oppose new homebuilding if framed in terms of permit streamlining and zoning reform, but more likely to support it if the discourse centers liberal values like affordability and inclusion.

Houser Headlines

Upcoming Events

September 20 @ 5:30 PM: Celebrating YIMBY Victories: 2021 Legislative Session Debrief

This year thousands of YIMBYs organized and fought to pass important housing bills like SB 9 and SB 10 — but the fight doesn’t stop there. Join California YIMBY for a deep dive into the status of critical housing legislation. Which bills passed, and which failed? What happens now? And how can YIMBYs continue to push for more housing this year? Bring your questions for this engaging panel with the California YIMBY legislative team, focused on AB 1401, SB 9 and SB 10. RSVP

September 22 @ 5:00 PM: YIMBY Training: Your Story as an Organizing Tool

Your personal story is a highly effective advocacy tool. Whether you’re giving public comment, talking to friends and family, or meeting with elected officials, telling your story can help make the case for more homes and inclusive communities. Join us and learn how to craft your housing story to strengthen your advocacy! RSVP

September 30 @ 6:00 PM: YIMBY Training: A Crash Course in Solving the Housing Crisis

Rising rents, super commutes, unhoused neighbors … How did we get here? Join YIMBYs from across the state for an interactive discussion about the root causes of, and solutions to, the housing shortage and affordability crisis. This training provides the foundation for you to fight for more homes in your community — and win! RSVP

YIMBY Social – Top Posts

A tweet from Ezra Klein that reads "But on issues like housing, where symbolic gestures have dominated, California's Democrats have woken up. The state is on the cusp of ending single-family zoning! Wrecking the political coalition that's finally moving policy on this issue would be madness."

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