Our Response to Governor Brown’s May Revise

Amie Fishman Quoted in the Mercury News: A policy road map to affordable housing in Santa Clara County
May 17, 2016
Amie Fishman at the SV@Home Policy Breakfast:
May 17, 2016

Last Friday, Governor Jerry Brown released his “May Revise” for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget. In the introduction, in a passage titled “Reducing the Cost of Housing,” he finally publicly acknowledged the state’s tremendous affordability and homelessness crises. While we are gratified that Brown is at long last beginning to address the issue, we find his response insufficient. NPH continues to support the Assembly’s $1.3 billion proposal for affordable housing funding. We encourage our state legislators to continue to push for significant state funding to replace resources lost through the elimination of redevelopment agencies and the exhaustion of bond revenues.


It is disappointing that the Governor’s budget fails to invest in the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Multifamily Housing Program (MHP).  This is one of the most successful and cost-effective programs ever to provide affordable, deeply income-targeted homes. As Matt Schwartz at the California Housing Partnership, and a NPH Board Member, noted, according to HCD’s own data, it only takes $70,000 per unit of state MHP investment to create a new unit when leveraged with other local and federal resources.


We are pleased that at least Brown expressed support for Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon’s “No Place Like Home” proposal to bond against Prop. 63 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) revenue stream to provide $2 billion for the construction of permanent supportive housing. It is important to note, however, that this will be a highly targeted program and will not be able to serve other homeless populations or those at risk of homelessness.


Find the “Housing and Local Government” section of the May Revise here.


Also, while cap and trade auction proceeds to the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program ($400 million proposed for this fiscal year) at the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is welcomed, it is important to note that this is NOT designed as a housing production program but rather as a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction program and a significant portion of the available funding will go to transit capital projects and active transportation infrastructure.


On the policy side, Brown’s budget also proposes to mandate “by right” development opportunities if affordable homes are included in market-rate residential development. We hope this signals a new openness on his part to inclusionary zoning ordinances and a commitment to mixed-income developments. Brown’s housing streamlining trailer bill language can be found here.


NPH will continue to advocate for state-level policy and funding solutions such as AB 2502 (Mullin and Chiu) for inclusionary housing and significant general fund allocations for key affordable housing production programs. We would also point out that Governor Brown’s underwhelming proposals are further proof of the need to pursue “self help” local funding measures such as Alameda County’s proposed $500 million affordable housing bond, and Santa Clara County’s proposed $750 million affordable housing bond, both championed by NPH.


Written by NPH Policy Director Michael Lane. Contact michael@nonprofithousing.org with questions or comments.