AB 309, authored by Assemblymember Alex Lee, is off to the Governor’s desk after passing in the Assembly.
“I’m so proud of how far we’ve come ever since I introduced California’s first social housing legislation in 2021,” Lee said. “AB 309 represents the opportunity for us to provide housing — not as a commodity — but as a human right for Californians. I see social housing as a critical tool to address our housing crisis, creating mixed-income housing that’s affordable, self-sustaining and publicly backed.”
AB 309, The Social Housing Act, would create the Social Housing Program under the Department of General Services. The program would be authorized to develop up to three social housing projects on state-owned excess land that’s deemed suitable for housing. The Social Housing Program would aim to ensure that rent is no more than 30% of residents’ income.
“I am inspired by successful models of social housing in countries like Singapore and Vienna,” Lee said. “Social housing, where people from all walks of life live together, provides affordable homes for large portions of the population.”
Social housing invests in affordable living costs and property maintenance, investments that are returned to the community, rather than private profit. Social housing also avoids concentrated poverty in neighborhoods by serving residents of different incomes.
During fall 2023, Lee will study social housing with policymakers in Singapore and Hong Kong, taking lessons learnt from models abroad to inform policy making in California.