Keeping Up with Housing
With the Legislature scheduled to return to session next week, the Bay Area Council will be watching closely to ensure a number of important housing reform bills advance. Among them is Council-supported legislation (AB 1307, Wicks) that would virtually ensure UC Berkeley and the housing prevails in court by removing the last remaining obstacles to finishing review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The bill comes in response to a disastrous court ruling earlier this year blocking the project and effectively calling students pollution. The ruling brought wide condemnation as another egregious example of how CEQA is abused and weaponized to block and delay badly needed housing. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of the lower court ruling sometime next year, but Wicks’ legislation could make that moot.
Bay Area Council member Apple is following through on a commitment it made almost four years ago to invest $2.5 billion to help fight California’s housing crisis. A recent article in Fast Company describes how Apple has already invested $1.5 billion to support projects by partners Housing Trust Silicon Valley and Destination Home that will create thousands of affordable housing units for low- and very low-income residents. “We really look for projects and programs where not only do we have a deep impact, but we actually see the impact fairly quickly,” Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president of worldwide real estate and facilities, told Fast Company. “That’s why we’ve chosen to focus on funding projects that need that last tranche of funding in order to be built, as opposed to projects that are still in the conceptual phase.” Well done, Apple!