Bay Area rides affordable housing wave following midterm elections

Affordable housing advocates may not have gotten everything they wanted on their Election Day wish list, but they’re cheering a series of victories this week that may help ease the Bay Area’s housing crunch.

That includes $6 billion in state-wide housing bonds and hundreds of millions more in local bonds and taxes.

“I think overall, it’s probably an A-,” Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, said of the pro-housing results. “That’s not bad. I’ll take that.”

Still, some measures are too close to call, and others went down in defeat. In San Jose, for example, the housing department was counting on a $450 million bond to bring the city one step closer to its goal of building 10,000 affordable homes by 2022. But the measure was falling short Friday. Similar measures in Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa were rejected.

Major bonds are always difficult to pass, because it’s tough to convince voters to approve spending such large sums of money, Regan said. And he suspects San Jose voters may have been particularly reluctant this election, because they approved a $950 million affordable housing bond in Santa Clara County just two years ago.

Arguably the biggest housing win was the passing of Propositions 1 and 2, which together authorize $6 billion in bonds to fund home loans and affordable housing construction for low-income families, veterans and people with mental illness.

Locally, several cities had strong pro-affordable housing and pro-renter results. Oaklanders voted to raise $10 million a year for homeless services and dumping cleanup by taxing vacant properties, and to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants from certain buildings. Berkeley residents passed a $135 million affordable housing bond. San Francisco voted in a big-business tax expected to raise $300 million a year for affordable housing and homeless services, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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