NLIHC state partner Housing California and its allies are urging legislators to adopt their plan to preserve affordable housing funding in the FY11-FY12 budget after Governor Jerry Brown (D) zeroed out housing funding from the budget. In an effort to balance the state’s $26 billion deficit and divert funding to local services and education, the Governor is calling for the elimination of California’s redevelopment agencies.
Currently, over $5 billion is generated annually in redevelopment taxes, with 20% of the revenue reserved for low to moderate income housing production. Affordable housing would lose over $1 billion per year if the Governor’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment passes. To avoid this loss, Housing California and other advocates proposed using redevelopment funding to pay down the deficit for one year and, in subsequent years, using the funds for affordable housing, as well as for local services and education.
This proposal, taken up by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), has support from Democrats in the legislature, but no action was taken on March 16 when both houses were scheduled to vote on the budget. The budget trailer bill eliminating redevelopment, which did not include Senator DeSaulnier’s proposal, failed to pass the Assembly and was not taken up in the Senate, offering hope for advocates working to preserve funding for affordable housing.
Housing California led a campaign of allied organizations since the January release of the Governor’s budget. So far, advocates have sent over 16,000 letters to legislators and 200 letters addressed to Gov. Brown, written numerous letters to the editor and opinion editorials, testified before several Senate and Assembly committees, and hosted four consecutive lobby days with dozens of constituents visiting their representative each day. Some legislators received up to seven personal visits. Housing California ally and NLIHC member Sacramento Housing Alliance gained media coverage from local TV and radio stations after dropping 50 red tents and sleeping bags on the capitol steps to represent the expected increase in the homeless population if funding for affordable housing is not preserved.
Julie Spezia, Executive Director of Housing California and NLIHC board member, said that because of their campaign, legislators have shown sympathy, but no action. “It’s great that we’ve made some traction and the community has come together, but now we need legislative results. Zeroing out housing funds undermines one of the state government’s core functions: preventing homelessness.”
“With no state funding available, only federal low income housing tax credits will be left, resulting in a significant reduction in construction of affordable housing and job creation. We need a dedicated source of funding and we are committed to ensuring that the state provides housing funding for low to moderate income individuals and families,” said Ms. Spezia.
For more information, contact Julie Spezia, Executive Director of Housing California at email@example.com.
To view an online photo album of Sacramento Housing Alliance’s red tent drop, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8265976@N06/sets/72157626164239091/.