On February 23, members of the California State Assembly and Senate introduced the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Act. Housing California, an NLIHC state coalition partner, joined the California Housing Consortium in spearheading the legislation, which would establish a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a $75 document recording fee on real estate transactions.
The HOMeS Act was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D), Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D), and Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D), who are concerned about the decline in funding for affordable housing at all levels. Given less revenue from state-approved housing bonds and the loss of redevelopment funds (see Memo, 1/27), state and local investments in affordable housing are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades. Cuts in federal funding have compounded the effects of the loss of state and local revenue.
It is anticipated that the recording fee would generate an average $700 million annually. The revenue would be sent quarterly to the Department of Housing and Community Development for deposit in the Housing Opportunity Trust Fund, which the bill would establish within the state treasury. While program and regulatory specifics are still in development, the bill would allow revenue to be used for transitional and permanent rental housing, foreclosure mitigation, homeownership activities and emergency shelter.
The bill requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of the state legislature. To strengthen support for the measure, Housing California and the California Housing Consortium are launching a campaign to encourage other legislators to back it. Advocates across the state mobilized in unprecedented ways to fight against the attack on redevelopment's housing funds; they believe they are well positioned to respond swiftly in this case.
“The loss of investments for affordable housing at all levels has created the perfect storm here in California,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California. “The foreclosure crisis has created more renters and pushed them into an increasingly expensive rental market. We applaud the leadership of Senators Steinberg and DeSaulnier, and Assemblywoman Atkins and look forward to working with them to help hundreds of thousands of Californians find safe and affordable homes.”
For more information, contact Shamus Roller at email@example.com. To sign up for updates on the HOMeS campaign, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.