California has an affordable housing crisis.
161,000 people are homeless and millions struggle to pay rent or make mortgage payments. With unemployment extensions, eviction moratoriums and mortgage forbearance ending, it’s a precarious time.
Two housing bills, California Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10, would make the situation worse. They would deregulate the single-family housing market statewide, incentivizing speculators to tear down homes especially in communities of color where the cost of land is lower, and replace them with multiple units of housing that only the affluent could afford. Lower and middle-income owners and tenants would be displaced, with many turned into permanent renters.
The bills don’t require the development of any affordable housing — none — and they don’t include production mandates that would result in volume housing to increase affordability.
Governor Newsom, deregulating the housing market is trickle-down economics repackaged to fool progressives like us. Make no mistake, these bills are capitalism at its worst — they’ll turn neighbor against neighbor as people cash out and Wall Street cashes in. That’s why these bills are opposed by a majority of Californians and the City Council of Los Angeles. (SB 9 also is opposed by the League of California Cities, representing city leaders across the state.) Please don’t give the house keys to Wall Street, Governor.*
SB 9 would allow up to 4-6 individual housing units on a single-family lot with no local control, and SB 10 would allow 10-unit apartment buildings on single-family lots — driving demand for redevelopment. These bills won’t help the affordable housing crisis. They’ll make it worse, destabilizing neighborhoods and home values for everyone.
If Governor Newsom deregulates single-family housing in California, Wall Street wins and real people get hurt. Please call or write the governor to veto SB 9 and SB 10.
* The transfer of wealth from the people to Wall Street continues at a rapid clip. Investors purchased a record 68,000 US houses in the second quarter. Asking rents for houses rose nearly 13% year to date through July (The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2021).
New US Census data shows that California densified rapidly from 2010 to 2020, evidence that efforts to boost housing production are working. It’s not necessary to end single-family zoning to boost production.