Big Housing Wins, But Much More to Do
This week, the Bay Area Council’s Housing Committee led a discussion with state leaders on their priorities for housing reform in 2022 and how new investments in accountability and enforcement will impact housing development in coming years. Assemblymember Buffy Wicks shared high-level takeaways from the Assembly Housing Working Group tour she led with her colleagues across the state, noting that housing affordability, home ownership access, homelessness, zoning, and CEQA were consistent themes. Other findings from the tour will be compiled in an upcoming report. She also mentioned her frustration that local elected officials use their positions to stop housing, citing a recent vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejecting a project by Bay Area Council member BUILD SF to build nearly 500 units of housing on a parking lot in downtown San Francisco.
The Committee also welcomed Jason Elliott, Senior Counselor to Governor Gavin Newsom, who stated that the Governor’s primary housing focus is on production and accountability. With an appropriation from the state budget, the newly created Housing Accountability Unit will work with cities and counties to ensure they are complying with state housing law and will partner with the Attorney General’s Housing Task Force to refer any potential enforcement actions. In response to a question regarding a 1,200 unit housing development facing opposition in Daly City, Elliott stated that the exact goal of the Housing Accountability Unit will be to give all housing projects facing undue opposition the attention they need from the state. To submit a complaint to the Housing Accountability Unit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The meeting wrapped with a presentation from the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), which has been doing important work pursuing legal actions to uphold and strengthen state housing law. To learn more and support their work, please visit their website here. For questions or to engage in the Council’s housing work, please contact Senior Policy Manager Kelli Fallon.