California governor signs into law measure to fight housing crisis
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[September 17, 2021]
By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) - California Governor Gavin
Newsom has signed legislation aimed at combating the state's housing
crisis by expanding housing production and aiming to streamline housing
Newsom's office said on Thursday California will put $1.75 billion into
what his administration is calling a new California Housing Accelerator,
which he claimed will accelerate building 6,500 affordable multi-family
units that were stalled for lack of tax-exempt bonds and low-income
housing tax credits.
"Governor Newsom's California Comeback Plan will lead to over 84,000 new
housing units and exits from homelessness, including today’s
announcement of $1.75 billion in affordable housing funding for the new
California Housing Accelerator", his office said in a statement.
The median home price in California rose 144% between 2000 and 2019 to
$591,866, according to data by the California Association of Realtors
cited in the Wall Street Journal.
Among the measures Newsom signed into law include Senate Bill 9, also
known as the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME)
Act, which would make it easier to build additional housing in areas
zoned only for single family homes.
Newsom also signed Senate Bill 10, which takes aim at the issue of
zoning. Under SB 10, local governments can access a streamlined zoning
process for new multi-unit housing near transit or in urban infill
areas, with up to 10 units per parcel. The legislation also eases the
need to undergo the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.
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Construction begins on a residential housing development called 3
Roots by Lennar in San Diego, California, U.S. June 3, 2021
The signing of the legislation came two days after
Newsom handily beat back a Republican campaign to oust him from
office and claimed a resounding victory in a special recall
California risked an escalating spiral of wildfire catastrophes and
rising housing costs unless it completely revamped how it rebuilt
after fires and found ways to discourage building in high-risk
areas, according to a study released in June.
The study by the University of California Berkeley Center for
Community Innovation and the research institute Next 10 also warned
of an impending insurance crisis unless laws are changed.
Building in already established communities that are largely
protected from wildfires is more expensive, so developers continue
to encroach on dry, hilly terrain that is more affordable.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)
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