Calif. Sen. Jim Beall, author of the $3 billion housing bond bill.
Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, sponsored the housing bond bill and said he was disappointed it didn't pass this session.

PHOENIX - Legislation to authorize a vote on a $3 billion affordable housing bond failed to pass ahead of California's legislative deadline of midnight Sept. 1.

Senate Bill 879, introduced by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose in January, failed to make it out of the State Assembly after clearing the Senate by a 28-9 vote in June.

The bill would have authorized that a $3 billion state general obligation bond be placed on a future ballot to fund affordable housing programs and some other housing-related development. The bill had passed out of two Assembly committees and was making its way through the amendment process, but ran out of time.

"The lack of affordable housing stops many working families and young adults from setting down roots in California," Beall said in a statement. "My bill offered a sound solution and I'm very disappointed that it did not get passed during the session."

California is in the midst of what some observers have referred to as a homelessness crisis.

Programs in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are trying at provide low-income housing to curb the problem, and Los Angeles has even called for Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency due to homelessness. Brown has declined to do so, saying he believes programs are best developed at the local level. California has roughly one-fifth of the nation's homeless.

"Voter-approved bonds have been an important source of funding to support the construction of affordable housing," a legislative analysis of the pill said. "Proposition 46 of 2002 and Proposition 1C of 2006 together provided $4.95 billion for affordable housing. These funds financed the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of 57,220 affordable apartments, including 2,500 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness, and over 11,600 shelter spaces. In addition, these funds have helped 57,290 families become or remain homeowners."

The analysis said the elimination of California's redevelopment agencies, which until 2011 were required to set aside 20% of all tax increment revenue to increase, improve, and preserve the community's supply of low- and moderate-income housing, has drastically affected the landscape.

"With the elimination of redevelopment agencies, this source of funding for affordable housing is no longer available," the analysis said. "California has reduced its funding for the development and preservation of affordable homes by 79% -- from approximately $1.7 billion a year to nearly nothing."

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