Sent February 6th, 2023
The Honorable Gavin Newsom Governor of California
Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
Assembly Budget Chair Philip Ting
Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner
Re: 2023-24 Housing and Homelessness Budget Blueprint for Impact
Dear Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, Assembly Budget Chair Ting, and Senate Budget Chair Skinner:
As you know, California’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis is one of the most pressing challenges facing our state and its residents. You have demonstrated your commitment to addressing this crisis through several years of historic investments and enacting meaningful policy change. We write to you as a united coalition of California’s leading affordable housing, homelessness, and housing justice organizations to propose a set of investments that should serve as a blueprint for housing investment in the 2023-24 budget.
We share your commitment to ensuring everyone in every community has access to a safe, stable, affordable home. However, to continue to build on our progress we must go beyond the investment signaled in the Governor’s January budget proposal and invest at a greater scale in deeply affordable housing development, preservation, homelessness, tenant protection, and affordable homeownership.
We recognize the complex, difficult choices the Administration and the Legislature face in the months ahead in confronting a major projected budget deficit, and appreciate the Administration’s commitment to maintaining many of the planned housing and homelessness investments committed in last year’s budget. We also know from previous deficits and recessions that economic downturns are precisely the times when we must invest in resources for our most marginalized neighbors to prevent our housing and homelessness crisis, and its disproportionate impact on people of color, from worsening. Now is the time to build on our momentum in securing a more stable and affordable California.
We are collectively calling for investing $7.9 billion in a critical continuum of housing production, preservation, and homelessness programs to advance housing affordability and economic resilience in California. Our coalition stands by this full suite of investments as a holistic package that can ensure that our state continues to build and preserve deeply affordable housing to address our shortfall of over a million affordable units for people with extremely low incomes, prevent people from falling into homelessness and solve homelessness for thousands of our neighbors living on our sidewalks and in shelters, and address the disproportionate harms of skyrocketing housing costs, housing instability, and homelessness on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color living in poverty.
$7.9 Billion Investment Strategy to Build on Progress on California’s Affordable Housing Goals
● $4 billion to unlock and accelerate production of 35,275 new affordable homes. We propose doubling the current state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) with an additional $500 million beyond what was allocated in the 2022-2023 state budget. We also urge appropriating $2 billion to the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) and $1.5 billion to the California Housing Accelerator Program (CHAP) and that HCD be given the authority, with DOF approval, to transfer amounts between these two programs in line with demand. Using a portion of MHP funds for capitalized operating subsidies or in conjunction with augmented HHAP allocations for operating subsidies would allow a significant portion of these funds to provide housing for extremely and acutely low-income households, where the greatest need currently exists.
● $2 billion in additional funding for the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAP) in 2023-2024 for a total of $3 billion in ongoing funding for future years, allowing 94,000 households to exit homelessness. This funding will provide local jurisdictions and Continuums of Care (CoCs) with adequate resources to rehouse about 20,000 households experiencing homelessness in year one, increasing to rehousing or preventing homelessness for 94,000 households annually by year five, by focusing investment on solutions like rental subsidies, services to help sustain housing, and homeless prevention programs that keep the most marginalized populations from falling into homelessness. Much of this funding can pay for operating costs of deeply affordable housing also created through this proposal, making state capital funding more effective. The Bring California Home Coalition is proposing pairing this funding with programmatic changes to enhance accountability, drive successful long-term outcomes, eliminate racial disparities, and advance workforce capacity and equity across local homeless response systems
● $1 billion to prevent displacement and homelessness for low-income households and preserve new affordable homes, to include:
○ $500 million for the Community Anti-Displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP) as proposed in Senate Bill 225 (Caballero) to spur the preservation of 3,600 homes, preserving low-income housing for 39,600 households over the next 55 years. This program will prevent displacement and homelessness by financing the acquisition of naturally occurring affordable rental housing and preserving it as permanently affordable. Acquisition preservation directly prevents low-income families from being displaced and potentially falling into homelessness today while also investing in expanding the supply of deed-restricted affordable homes for generations to come. CAPP fills a state funding gap where there are not currently resources to support this type and scale of acquisition preservation.
○ $500 million for a targeted rental subsidy program to prevent and end homelessness and displacement for over 13,500 older adults and people with disabilities each year, over four years. As proposed in Senate Bill 37 (Caballero), this funding will create a grant program to prevent the inflow of older adults and people with disabilities, the fastest-growing populations falling into homelessness, and help these populations exit homelessness.
● $500 million for affordable homeownership production through the CalHome Program to provide homeownership opportunities to 5,000 low-income Californians. CalHome is the only state homeownership program with funding dedicated to the construction of new owner-occupied homes for low-income families. CalHome supports programs prioritizing homeownership in various forms for low-income families so they can build equity, increase community stability, and gain the multi-generational benefits of owning a home.
● $200 million to support the affordable housing needs of farmworker and tribal communities. This allocation should include $100 million for farmworker housing development through the Joe Serna Farmworker Housing Grant Program. Farmworkers face significant housing disparities and require resources to ensure safe, quality housing that supports migrant families and make a life-changing difference in their children’s health and educational outcomes. These investments should also include $100 million for a new Tribal Housing Grant Program to help finance homes for rent or purchase on tribal trust and fee land and meet the unique housing, land, and sovereignty conditions of California tribes that are not being met by existing state housing programs.
● $200 million a year for 2 years for resources to help tenants utilize federal Housing Choice Vouchers through landlord recruitment, services, and resources to connect landlords and tenants. These programs have succeeded around the country in increasing voucher utilization and access for voucher holders.
● In addition, we support the augmentation of funding for the Civil Rights Department (CRD) included in the Governor’s January budget proposal to support investigation and enforcement of complaints related to SB 329 (Mitchell, Chapter 600, Statutes of 2019), which prohibited landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants with housing vouchers and other forms of public rental assistance. CRD receives upwards of 800 voucher discrimination complaints every year but does not have sufficient staff to process them all. Expanding enforcement of the state’s voucher non-discrimination law will increase the utilization and effectiveness of both federal- and state-funded rental subsidies.
We realize that these budget requests exceed what is outlined in Governor Newsom’s January budget proposal, but are eager to work with the Administration and the Legislature to seek collaborative and creative approaches, including through exploring new, dedicated revenue sources, to provide long-term funding solutions to our housing crisis. Together, we can ensure that deeply affordable housing units do not continue to languish in the pipeline, unhoused Californians need not wait months or years to access an affordable and accessible housing option, and we stem the inflow of Californians into homelessness through protecting their rights and preserving their affordable housing options. As such, our coalition stands fully committed to advocating for this full spectrum of housing and homelessness programs as a package. We recommend that any housing and homelessness investments beyond those proposed in the Governor’s January budget reflect the proportionality of the requests in this letter.
Thank you for your ongoing leadership and partnership in creating a more affordable and equitable California. We look forward to working together closely on the budget this year.