A powerful group of nonprofits and housing advocates called on Thursday for bold statewide reforms and higher corporate taxes to tackle the California homeless crisis and affordable housing shortages.
The 10-year Roadmap Home 2030 proposal, supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the James Irvine and Conrad N. Hilton families’ nonprofits, aims to end homelessness and create 1.2 million affordable homes in California to accomplish. The sprawling plan – a mix of politics and community activism – calls for far more aggressive action from lawmakers and corporations. The entire package could cost $ 17.9 billion annually.
“People have always come to California to build a better future,” said Lisa Hershey, executive director of Housing California, a nonprofit. “That promise is in jeopardy.”
Housing lawyers have a moment. Silicon Valley tech firms have pledged billions of dollars to build new homes and affordable housing in the Bay Area and California, and the government’s Project Homekey initiative has allocated new resources to shelter the homeless.
The Affordable Housing Community is also optimistic about President Joe Biden’s relief and infrastructure plans to provide additional federal resources for housing construction.
The US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) And Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) Officially requested additional help for homeless Californians from the HUD on Thursday. The federal government should provide at least 50,000 vouchers for emergency shelters for vulnerable residents. A January 2020 census estimated the state homeless population to have reached 161,000.
“It is important that the federal government work with California to tackle homelessness,” wrote the senators.
Roadmap Home 2030 includes more than 50 policy and community goals to eradicate homelessness, add more than 1 million affordable homes, protect tenants, and tackle systematic discrimination against blacks, Latinos, and other colored people.
The proposal calls for tax reform to increase government spending on housing programs and subsidies. The effective corporate tax rate in California is 4.2%, proponents say, less than half the tax rate paid by companies in the 1980s. Tax cuts under former President Donald Trump also reduced resources for government-sponsored housing initiatives.
Housing advocates also want to reform home finance rules that have discriminated against color communities. The plan authors say the state needs to revise development laws to make building new homes easier and cheaper, especially in busy areas with limited options for poor and working class residents.
“Housing production is nowhere near where it needs to be,” said Congregation member David Chiu, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Housing and Community Development Committee and a supporter of the proposal. “We have a long way to go.”
However, the California Chamber of Commerce has already spoken out strongly against the current bills to increase taxes on housing priorities. The business lobby released a list of “job killer” bills this week, rejecting a series of tax increases and efforts to curb local influence on new developments.
The board said AB 71, a proposal to raise the corporate tax rate and increase taxes on the gross income of international companies, would wrongly place responsibility for the housing crisis on the private sector.
Housing advocates say investing in safe housing for poor and low-income residents will improve the general health of the population, bring stability to families, and increase productivity and wages.
“Piece-Mealing won’t do that,” said Zella Knight of Residents United Network. “This is the moment to save lives.”