Council Weighs in on Regional Housing Bond Proposal
The November 2024 ballot, from top to bottom, is already shaping up to be one of the most consequential in modern times. One measure the Bay Area Council is tracking closely is a proposal by the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) to place a housing bond of up to $20 billion on the ballot across the nine Bay Area counties. In a preliminary step, a nine-member advisory committee last week recommended that BAHFA, which is made up of the members of the Metropolitan Transportation and Association of Bay Area Governments, move forward with the measure.
To put this measure in perspective, the largest statewide housing bond in modern history was $5 billion. Proponents argue that if properly crafted and managed a bond of this magnitude could be a real game changer for our region and have a measurable impact on housing affordability and homelessness here. We tend to agree, IF the measure is properly crafted and managed.
To that end and in collaboration with peer pro-housing groups, the Council submitted a letter to MTC today asking for common sense ideas to be included in the bond and expenditure plan. Among the suggestions are enabling home builders to access bond funding to defray the cost of local mandates that require them to designate a certain portion of new units as affordable; creating a new loan fund to support the construction of accessory dwelling units; and allowing funds to be used for building shelter for unhoused residents and converting office space to residential, among other ideas.
We firmly believe that these ideas will unlock not just a pipeline of new subsidized affordable homes but will make feasible many thousands of new market rate homes that are currently infeasible to build. It can be win-win for all concerned. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Vice President Louis Mirante.