“Our California values are about thriving, diverse, inclusive communities”

“Our California values are about thriving, diverse, inclusive communities”

“NPH and all of us here believe in a Bay Area, believe in a California and a nation where everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home. We can do something about that.” — Amie Fishman, March 2 press conference

NPH Executive Director Amie Fishman joined Assemblymember David Chiu and other California lawmakers on Friday, March 2, to discuss the needs and opportunities for affordable housing for California during the 2017 legislative session.

Speaking to the press, Amie acknowledged that now, more than ever, we must defend California values, including supporting inclusive communities and affordable homes. “Federally, we have grave and legitimate concerns about what’s ahead and what we need to defend,” she said. “We will not go backwards. We have to move forward to address the crisis in our communities around housing.”

(NPH Executive Director Amie Fishman begins at ~minute 3.) 

Later in the day, as part of a panel of affordable housing experts and advocates speaking to members of the Assembly Housing Committee, Amie addressed the growing and urgent need for California to take action at the state-level.

Across California, and especially around the Bay Area, voters have identified a lack of affordable opportunities and options as a top challenge. In November 2016, they showed that they were willing to take local and regional action. But to continue to drive progress now, Amie argued on behalf of NPH’s 750 members, it will take action from the state. 


Read Amie’s testimony from the March 3 legislative hearing on affordable housing:

Thank you for having me here today.

My name is Amie Fishman. I am the Executive Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. For nearly 40 years, NPH has been the collective voice of those who support, build and finance affordable housing.

On behalf of our 750 members, I am here to urge you to identify solutions and commit to investing in affordable housing for our communities.

Across the state, and in the Bay Area especially, housing has risen to the top of voters’ concerns — and Californians expect action. Multiple polls continue to show that affordable housing is a top issue for voters and that Bay Area voters identify a lack of affordable housing as their number one concern – above education, public safety, and even traffic!

This wasn’t just talk: Voters were ready to walk the walk. Bay Area voters passed a multitude of affordable housing ballot measures with overwhelming majorities (more than 2/3) at the November ballot, including three County measures that will bring significant, much-needed revenue to create affordable, local homes for our community members. 

While NPH was proud to play an active role in researching, initiating, and supporting these ballot measure solutions, this is no humblebrag! There is good, important work that cities and counties in our region are doing to provide much-needed local funding and progressive policies, and I cite this important progress to remind you: Locally and regionally – we’re doing our part. But we need an active state partner also bringing resources to the table to be able to truly support the needs of our communities.

The state needs to step up and do its fair share.

Voters have spoken clearly, our housing challenges have only continued to grow, and threats at the federal level mean that state action on housing is absolutely critical. The federal LIHTC program is taking a huge hit due to corporate tax reform. More draconian cuts are in store for the already-decimated HUD budget. We need significant, ongoing state investments.

Your support means a smart return on investment. For every $67,000-70,000 per affordable home in new state subsidy, California leverages 4-5 times over from other funding sources. CHPC’s analysis shows that this state investment yields a permanent affordable home with a cost of only $425/year per person housed.

Your support means that you’re hearing what your constituents are telling you. Voters couldn’t be clearer that this is their number one issue.

Your support means a commitment to our communities. We need you to affirm our “California values” and protect our most vulnerable populations from federal actions

We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home and I know you do too. You don’t need me to tell you stories of need. I know you’re reading about our teachers and nurses who can’t find housing where they work, I know you see families on the brink of homelessness and those who are pushed over the line, and I know you’re hearing directly from constituents, residents, and likely many of your own family, friends, and neighbors, who can’t find a safe, local, affordable home.

The California Legislature and Governor Brown can create significant opportunities towards this goal in the 2017 legislative session. I want to offer our research and industry expertise as a resource, as you continue to explore solutions and I thank you for giving this critical issue the attention it requires by holding this meeting today.

***

To get involved, learn more, or take action on California affordable housing legislation, please visit www.nonprofithousing.org/ActionCenter

Alina Harway