Responding to a severe shortage of housing in the state, California lawmakers passed legislation Thursday to boost production and ease approval of housing at the local level.
In a series of bipartisan votes, the Senate and Assembly approved legislation that would streamline the permitting of some housing developments, present voters with a $3 billion bond to fund affordable housing and build supportive housing for the state's homeless population.
The legislation addressed two sides of the housing policy coin: Funding to increase housing development and access, and reforms to make it harder to block new projects.
"California’s expensive housing market has a disproportionate impact on the middle class and working poor," said Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), the author of Senate Bill 3, the housing bond.
If approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bond measure would go before voters in the November 2018 election. The billions would be invested in existing state housing programs, with the hope of offsetting the costs that typically dissuade builders from constructing below-market-rate units.