Can a $20 billion bond help solve the Bay Area's inexpensive housing crisis?

This November, Bay Area voters could vote on an unprecedented bond measure to boost as much as $20 billion for as much as 90,000 much-needed inexpensive homes within the nine-county region.

Ahead of an important regional board vote next week on which the measure shall be put to a vote, mayors of three of the Bay Area's largest cities met in San Francisco on Thursday to rally support for the proposal.

“If you're concerned about homelessness, this is the measure you should support,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “If you're concerned about the high cost of housing and the high cost of living, this is the measure you should support.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín also attended the event, which took place in a public housing complex near the Chase Center Arena in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood.

Absent was Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who didn’t show up after the FBI raided her home early Thursday morning.

Across the Bay Area, about 1.4 million residents – 23% of all renters – spend greater than half their income on rent, in line with regional authorities. At the identical time, an estimated 37,000 persons are homeless each night within the region – greater than your entire population of Menlo Park.

To alleviate the chronic shortage of inexpensive housing within the region, Bay Area Housing Finance AuthorityCreated by the state legislature in 2019, the bond measure has worked for years to get on the ballot. The measure must now be approved by the Board of Finance — made up of elected and appointed local officials — on June 26 before it goes before voters.

While the board is anticipated to approve the measure, there continues to be some uncertainty in regards to the final amount of the bond. The financing authority has proposed either $10 or $20 billion.

This chart shows the amount Bay Area counties and cities would receive from a proposed $20 billion regional housing bond. San Francisco and Santa Clara County would receive $2.4 billion at the high end, and Napa County would receive $118 billion at the low end.The bond can be financed by a brand new tax on businesses and houses. For a $20 billion bond, the tax can be $19 per $100,000, or about $190 per yr for a house with an assessed value of $1 million.

The vote comes because the state pushes Bay Area cities and counties to approve greater than 441,000 latest homes by 2031, a roughly 15% increase within the region's total housing stock. More than half of the brand new homes should be inexpensive for low- and moderate-income residents.

On Thursday, Breed said rising rates of interest and other economic headwinds currently slowing the development sector underscore the necessity for greater financing of inexpensive housing.

“How are we going to create the much-needed affordable housing without financial support?” she asked.

Some mayors also identified that the federal government has played a smaller and smaller role in subsidizing inexpensive housing in recent many years, arguing that this measure was obligatory.

“Local mayors have a right to complain,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna of South Bay said in an interview.

Khanna said he supports the bond measure, adding that if President Joe Biden is re-elected, he’ll push the administration to make housing a high priority.

If approved, a $20 billion bond would offer $4 billion to determine a regional fund to finance inexpensive projects. The rest can be divided among the many Bay Area's nine counties and five largest cities to come to a decision find out how to support inexpensive housing.

Santa Clara County would receive $2.4 billion, San Mateo County $2.1 billion, Alameda County $2 billion and Contra Costa County $1.9 billion. San Francisco would receive $2.4 billion, San Jose $2.1 billion and Oakland $765 million.

A current report Researchers on the nonprofit housing organization Enterprise Community Partners found that the bond could help construct 433 already approved inexpensive projects totaling greater than 40,000 units, a lot of which lack sufficient funds to finish. This includes greater than 10,000 units in Santa Clara and Alameda counties. Officials estimate that the bond would also help construct tens of hundreds more latest housing units.

Affordable housing is reserved for individuals who earn lower than a certain quantity, normally a percentage of an area's median income. That will be as high as 120% of the median income, or as little as 15% or 30%. In Santa Clara County, 30% of the median income is $38,750 for a single person, in line with the state housing authority. Residents typically spend about 30% of their income on housing costs, although the quantity can vary.

Local authorities could also use the cash from the bonds to construct homeless shelters, including tiny houses, converted motels, group homes and supervised campgrounds.

Earlier this yr, San Jose, which under Mahan has made constructing latest shelters the centerpiece of its homeless response, agreed to spend about 28 percent of its potential bond capital on shelter options. In an interview, Mahan said inexpensive housing is simply too expensive and takes too long to be the primary strategy within the fight against homelessness.

“I will not support an approach that pursues only one strategy, especially one that is the slowest to get people off the streets,” Mahan, a voting member of the Treasury Board, said in an interview.

As it stands, the bond measure would wish a two-thirds majority of all Bay Area voters to pass. However, if a bill passes on the identical November ballot to make it easier to pass tax measures, the bond measure would only need 55% approval.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court removed one other bill from the vote that might have required a two-thirds majority.

Despite broad voter support that the region must create more cost-effective housing, the bond's passage is not any guarantee. According to a Opinion poll Last week, 64 percent of voters statewide said it was a nasty time to issue bonds for presidency programs and infrastructure projects as state and native governments worked to shut budget deficits, in line with a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.

Berkeley Mayor Arreguín noted that his city's voters rejected a $650 million local inexpensive housing bond for 2022, although the measure still received 56% of the vote.

“I urge my fellow mayors and all Bay Area voters to support this housing bond and do everything they can to get it passed in November,” he said, “because the impact this will have on the region will be transformative for years to come.”

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