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The Social Housing Act Advances To the Senate Floor

For immediate release:

AB 309, a bill to establish social housing in California authored by Assemblymember Alex Lee, passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Sept. 1, 2023 and is now headed to the Senate Floor. 

“Our social housing legislation has made it the furthest any social housing bill has ever moved in the State Legislature. I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made with AB 309,” Lee said. “I’ve been pushing for social housing legislation since I first came into office three years ago. Our vision is to bring the paradigm shift of providing housing as a universal human right in California, just as we do for our schools and roads.”

AB 309, The Social Housing Act, would be a catalyst for social housing developments in California, helping address the shortage of affordable homes. The proposed legislation would create the Social Housing Program under the Department of General Services. 

“I see AB 309 as the first step to building social housing in California,” Lee said. “It’s a model that holds great promise and has seen success both nationally and internationally.” 

The Social Housing Program would be authorized to develop up to three social housing projects on state-owned excess land that’s deemed suitable for housing. It aims to rent out units at no more than 30 percent of residents’ income. Within the program, a home ownership model would be employed as well. 

Access to affordable homes remains out of reach for too many residents. According to a 2023 survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, about one third of Californians report that they seriously consider moving out of state, up from 15% in 2004. 

“Social housing is a tool that can help tackle our housing crisis, producing homes that are protected from the for-profit market,” Lee said. “It accommodates residents of mixed-incomes—publicly backed housing that’s built sustainably and beautifully. Without an over reliance on government subsidies, social housing will complement California’s current efforts to address the housing crisis.”