A Better Way Forward to House California 

Overall Principles

  1. Provide appropriate levels of public funding, financing and assistance for shelter and affordable housing.  
  2. Create fund for first time homebuyers, including those who previously owned homes but are reentering the market such as homebuyers who were foreclosed out during the financial crisis.
  3. Create a refundable renter’s tax credit for qualifying individuals of moderate or lower income levels.
  4. Ensure a level playing field for residents by extending existing regulations to speculators and eliminating or reducing certain tax deductions and incentives currently only available to landlords but not to homeowners or residents.    

Shelters/Supportive Housing

  • Emergency temporary shelters in or near homeless encampments, get people inside – Examples: Oakland tiny houses under freeway, Utah Housing First Program. 
  • Reduce expenses by using prefab housing and sharing common areas – outdoor area, food preparation and dining and ADA compliant bathrooms, expenses that can drive up the price of individual units to the more than $700,000 per unit spent in Los Angeles.
  • Convert existing structures into shelter and supportive (or affordable) housing – Examples:
    • Courthouses (e.g. empty courthouses in Norwalk and Culver City), 
    • Closed or closing hospitals (e.g. Loma Linda Community Hospital in LA),
    • Closed schools or community or state colleges,
    • Closed DWP, special district and other services facilities, offices, and stations,
    • Motels and hotels,
    • Public/private partnerships for abandoned or vacant structures.
  • Require statewide public database of publicly owned land and structures.
  • Provide dedicated funding and public financing for shelters and supportive housing.

Lower/Moderate Income Housing

  • Definition of affordability should be measured by reference to neighborhood average median income not regional median income.
  • Revolving loan fund for financing construction or takeout financing on affordable housing projects.
  • Revolving loan fund to provide low or no interest short term loans to:
    • First Time Home Buyers for down payment/closing, 
    • Renters for move-in costs, deposit and 1st month’s rent, 
    • Developers of housing that is at least 75% affordable to buyers or renters with moderate or lower income (construction or takeout financing).
    • Heirs of reverse mortgage property to provide time to settle or sell the property.  All revolving loan proceeds to buyers or renters would be required to be used to pay off any amounts due by seller or landlord.
  • Leverage federal opportunity zones to provide progressive density bonus and tax incentives for affordable housing.
  • Provide a refundable renter’s tax credit for affordable/lower income housing.
  • Amend Costa-Hawkins to permit local jurisdictions to extend rent control to single family homes that are rented and to any structure that is at least 10 years old.
  • Require registration in a local or state public database of all units offered for rent or accommodation.
  • Require annual landlord registration of rental or accommodation units with monthly and per square foot rents by unit
  • Incentivize jobs and investment to utilize existing capacity throughout California before concentrating density, liability and unfunded costs for services and infrastructure not in service.  Promoting growth into the capacity and the promise of our underinvested areas is not “sprawl”; it is sensible planning. 

Actual/Perceived Speculation and Displacement

  • Extend existing state Antitrust Laws to regulate housing and residential real estate.
  • Ballot measure for vacancy and non-resident transfer tax/charge.
  • Impose a “use it or lose it” entitlement policy to address neighborhood blight.
  • Establish land bank/community trust at least for existing public lands and for tax liens/foreclosed real estate.  
  • Consider right to acquire Ellis Act properties beginning 3 years after notice if not developed. 
  • Limit sale of tax liens or publicly owned lands absent specific findings that site (a) cannot be converted to shelter or lower or moderate income housing; and (b) cannot be ground leased for housing development. Create a task force under AG from local city and county attorneys to collect or foreclose on liens on a statewide basis.  Following foreclosure, convert to public shelter/housing, giving tenants/displaced residents the first opportunity to rent or live there.
  • Strengthen tenant protections such as
    • “in place” emergency loan fund for rent, right of return and close by affordable housing options during development.
    • Statewide or local public registry for housing/accommodations.
  • Avoid McMansion Assistance or Incentives.  Expressly limit all state incentives and financing assistance to multifamily housing and expressly defer to and preserve local zoning for projects in all circumstances where the development is to build a single family residence or single family compound.  Single family residences do not need incentives.

Funding for Housing

  • Shelters and supportive housing require a public funding option.  Repeal or suspend the operation of Article 34 of the California Constitution.  
  • Expand sales tax to include services (small business carve out) to be dedicated to shelters and affordable housing (2/3rds vote).
  • Eliminate depreciation deduction (2/3rds vote) on:
    • Single family residences (deduction is only available to landlords, not owners or tenants):
    • Housing offered for rent for less than a 30 day term at any time during the tax year;
    • Housing not actually rented for at least 180 days during the tax year; 
    • Housing offered for rent or rented at a rate of more than 200% of the neighborhood average area median income or more than 200% of the neighborhood average area rental rate per square foot.
  • Infill Infrastructure Grant Applications (submission deadline for large jurisdictions and opening date for small jurisdictions was 1/29/20).  $194 million and $85 million of $500 million authorized was made available.  Add to fund depending on applications.
  • Transfer/vacancy tax on real estate sales (Ballot Initiative).
  • Emergency/disaster relief for emergency shelter (Governor Newsom’s Executive Order https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EO-N-23-20-Homelessness-Crisis-01.08.2020.pdf).
  • General funds

Scroll to top