California’s election could bring $6 billion to its affordable housing market

However, some worry it may increase the taxpayer debt

California’s housing market has become so unaffordable that in 2018, the homeless population jumped 13.7% in one year.

As more and more Californians suffer from rising mortgage and interest rates, legislators have introduced many proposals to tackle the housing crisis.

This November, Californians will have the chance to vote for propositions that could bring $6 billion to affordable housing statewide, according to an article from The Mercury News. 

From the article:

City officials, nonprofits and developers say they’re counting on Proposition 1, which would provide $4 billion for affordable housing construction and home loans, and Proposition 2, which would authorize $2 billion to build housing for people with mental illness, to help them fill the dire need for cheaper alternatives to the Bay Area’s exorbitantly priced homes and apartments.

Together, the bonds represent a major effort to address a statewide housing crisis that has pushed the cost of buying or renting a home out of reach of all but the highest earners and forced many workers to live far from job hubs. If Prop. 1 succeeds, it would be the first statewide general housing bond passed since voters authorized a $2.9 billion bond in 2006. That money is all gone. And in 2012, the state dissolved its redevelopment agencies, eliminating another major source of affordable housing funding.

“We have to do something, or else there’s going to be some horrible consequences,” said state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, who wrote the legislation that placed Prop. 1 on the ballot.

According to the article, if the measures are passed funds would help build and renovate multifamily rental units for families earning 60% or less of the area median income. The money would also aid low and moderate-income home buyers make down payments for their first home.

However, Californians are already paying off $83 billion in bonds, and there are those who worry that the cost of funding these measures would result in debt that would be financed by taxpayers, the article stated. 

Regardless of where Californians stand on the propositions, it’s clear that affordability will continue to be a concern well after November. 

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