The Quality of Life Initiative

The Bay Area Quality of Life Initiative aims to put a ballot measure on the nine-county Bay Area ballot (by November 2016) that will raise dedicated funds for parks and open space, transportation and transit, climate adaptation and affordable housing of $750 million to $1 billion annually.

Why a regional measure?

  • State and federal funds for affordable housing are vanishing:
    • Prop 1C was passed in 2006 and funds have basically run out.
    • In 2011, California eliminated redevelopment agencies, resulting in a loss of over $1 billion annually in affordable housing funding statewide.
    • Since 2010, the federal government has significantly cut funding for housing programs like HOME, CDBG, and Section 8.
    • Talk of tax reform at the federal level is making the future of the Low Income Tax Credit program uncertain.
  • The Bay Area has one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation:
    • Half of all Bay Area working households spend more than 30% of their income on rest.
    • Nearly one-third of Bay Area working household spend more than half of their income on rent.
  • The most job growth is projected in the lowest income brackets – housing that the market has historically not provided for.
  • Plan Bay Area – the Bay Area’s regional sustainable communities strategy – will fail if we do not build enough affordable housing near job centers. Failure means:
    • Continued long commute patterns that cause congestion and air pollution.
    • Perpetuated concentration of poverty and racial segregation.
  • State climate for affordable housing is “cloudy” at best. Although we will continue to work with our statewide partners for a state dedicated source and other tools to build affordable housing, the Governor’s recent veto of the “Palmer Fix” bill demonstrates his lack of understand of and/or antipathy toward affordable housing.
  • Our region has demonstrated sustained support for affordable housing and we have had historical precedent for a regional measure.
    • In March 2004, Bay Area voters approved a $1.00 toll hike on 7 state-owned bridges that raised $125 million for transit projects.
    • There is a positive trend toward local ballot measures. On the November 2012 ballot, there were 109 non-school local revenues measures; 69 passed.

Why NPH?

  • NPH has been the leader of the affordable housing field in the Bay Area for over three decades. Our board membership includes organizations and individuals from all sectors involved in creating, preserving, and operating affordable housing. Our most active members and our board represent the leaders of the affordable housing field.
  • NPH has the right relationships. NPH was one of the first housing organizations to work strategically with environmental groups. We are one of the core founders of the Great Communities Collaborative (GCC), compromised of organizations representing sectors that care about equitable development — social justice, the environment, economic development, and transportation. The GCC is a key player in the rollout of Plan Bay Area.
  • NPH has the right experience. NPH has played a key role in all of the statewide affordable housing campaigns so far, including:
    • Securing a $570 million general fund appropriation for affordable housing in 2000.
    • The success of Proposition 46 – $2.1 billion in housing bonds.
    • The success of Proposition 1C- $2.85 in housing bonds and related infrastructure.