Every day, tens of thousands of my constituents – and millions of Californians – struggle under the weight of the housing crisis. Due to the astronomical cost of housing in my district and throughout California, they are forced to choose between paying rent and utilities, buying food, or accessing the healthcare they need. We are failing these friends and neighbors.
For decades we have been prolific at creating jobs, but have been negligent when it comes to building the housing necessary to accommodate so many more workers. Addressing the housing crisis will require multiple solutions - there is no silver bullet. One such solution is SB 10, a completely permissive bill that provides cities with another tool to try to build denser, infill housing. For as long as I've been in the Assembly, the cities in my district have requested additional, voluntary tools to build more housing. That is exactly what SB 10 does, which is why I supported it.
Another solution is SB 9, which will allow up to four units of housing to be built on a single-family lot – an increase of one unit compared to existing law. The author of the bill, President pro tem Toni Atkins, has made multiple amendments to address concerns that were raised by opponents, some as recently as last week. These amendments include adding anti-displacement provisions to make sure renters aren’t kicked out, adding a three-year homeowner occupancy requirement to make sure the bill benefits homeowners, not institutional investors, and authorizing local governments to deny a proposed housing development or lot split if the building official makes a written finding that it would create a specific fire hazard that cannot be mitigated.
I was struck by the range of colleagues who spoke in favor of SB 9 on the Assembly Floor this morning, and the diversity of the districts they represent. They were urban, suburban, and rural, Democrat and Republican, from very liberal to very conservative, and white, Black, Latino, and API. The one thing they all have in common is they see the dire impacts that the housing crisis is having on their communities, and they refuse to continue kicking the can down the road. I agree with them.
SB 9 won’t single handedly solve our housing crisis, but it will help address housing affordability by creating duplexes and smaller single-family homes at more moderate price points. This is in addition to the historic investments the state is making to support local governments and non-profits in developing affordable housing.
For decades we have failed to build enough housing in California, and we have failed the most vulnerable among us. These two housing bills attempt to right those wrongs and create a framework to restore some of the socio-economic diversity that my district – one of the most expensive in the country – has lost. That is why I voted yes on SB 9 and SB 10.
Contact: Kaitlin Curry, (916) 319-2024