Strategic coordination planned to fight against affordable housing, homelessness


In summary

California is ready to invest $ 10 billion to speed up housing production and $ 12 billion to fight homelessness.

By Lourdes Castro Ramírez, special at CalMatters

Lourdes Castro Ramírez is Secretary of the Agency for Business, Consumer Services and Housing, [email protected]

California has often been criticized for its lack of a comprehensive and holistic approach to housing and homelessness. When investments have been made in the past, they were often dispersed in approach and design, with few strategic relationships with other investments.

It’s changing.

California is now set to invest $ 10 billion to speed up housing production and $ 12 billion to tackle homelessness – with funding for Homekey units, affordable housing ready to go, mortgage help and rental, and direct resources for local governments to prevent and end homelessness.

This is more than 10 times the budget of any previous year.

To get the most out of these dollars, we plan to deploy them quickly and in coordination with federal and local governments. We’re also building on the work of recent years that is making construction in California easier by continuing to streamline the approval process for affordable housing and secondary suites. And we will focus on building housing that is not produced by the market – housing for very low and very low income households that have been excluded from housing options for too long.

As Secretary of the Agency for Business, Consumer Services and Housing, I work closely with Governor Gavin Newsom and an incredible team to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of these resources.

Over the past 16 months, we have worked on significant strategic coordination of the work being done by the housing and homeless departments within our agency – the Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency and the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council.

We are also aligning their work with key partners like the Health and Human Services Agency to provide essential health and social services, and with the state treasurer’s office, whose tax credits and bond resources are so essential. the financing of affordable housing.

Why is this important? Because people like Chad Martin expect government to work when they go through tough times.

I met Chad in San Diego at Stella and Bluewater community, a 158-unit complex providing affordable housing for low-income families, individuals and veterans. Before living there, Chad had bounced off friends’ couches or had occasionally slept in Balboa Park following a difficult divorce. While he worked intermittently as a bartender, that wasn’t enough to help him get back on his feet.

Then one day, a outreach worker deployed to Balboa Park offered her hope. He went to temporary shelter and, within three months, was able to move into permanent accommodation with on-site services. Having safe and stable housing and rental assistance allowed her to focus on renewing her real estate license and regaining her chance for a better life.

Every California family deserves a chance to live out their dreams, and stable housing is an important part of their ability to do so. And our efforts always keep people like Chad in mind, allowing us to be people-centered with a goal of racial and geographic equity.

With housing costs significantly exceeding wages, many Californians were already in dire straits even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A coordinated approach is crucial in helping as many Californians as possible.

By providing the largest investment in housing and homelessness in California history, Newsom and the legislature have put a huge down payment on the solutions needed to stabilize people in their homes during the pandemic, alleviating the disease. instability in the state’s long-term housing and giving every Californian an opportunity to have a place to call home.

Solutions to tackle housing insecurity and give every Californian a chance to fight to reach their potential is a centerpiece of Newsom $ 100 Billion California Return Plan. For state and local governments, these resources will help build more units faster with greater reach and coordination.

For individual Californians like Chad, they will be the occasion for a new beginning.

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