Legislative Priorities

Promoting policies that increase affordable housing opportunities

The need for affordable housing is greater than ever.  When MidPen opens a new community we commonly receive well over 1,000 applications for each 50 homes. This means there are still thousands of working families, seniors and individuals with supportive housing needs living in substandard housing or left without money for other necessities after paying their rent. We are committed to narrowing the gap between the supply of quality affordable housing and the need for it. We work with local, state and national leaders in both the public and private sectors to promote policies that increase affordable housing opportunities for the people who need them. At all levels of our organization, MidPen supports and actively participates in the efforts of leading advocacy groups. MidPen’s leadership sit on the boards of regional, state and national organizations that drive legislation and regulations in support of affordable housing. They are often called on to testify or provide expert advice on issues related to affordable housing development policy and public funding.

MidPen Housing’s 2023 Legislative Priorities

MidPen housing works diligently with our partners to support proven affordable housing solutions. For the 2023 California legislative session, MidPen supported the following Bills and Constitutional Amendments.

ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry), 55% Vote for Local Affordable Housing and Public Infrastructure

The California Constitution currently requires a two-thirds threshold of voter approval at the local level for both general obligation bonds and special taxes, regardless of what the city, county, or special district proposes to use the funds for. ACA 1 lowers the voter approval threshold to 55% for affordable housing and infrastructure revenue measures, strengthening local democratic governance and furthering equitable housing policy.

AB 1085 (Maienschein), Federal Approval for Housing Support Services a Medi-Cal Benefit

As a next step toward offering meaningful, person-centered health care to people experiencing homelessness, this bill would require the CA Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to seek federal approval for a Medi-Cal housing support services benefit in 2024. A statewide Medi-Cal benefit would be more equitable and accessible to Medi-Cal enrollees who are experiencing homelessness, allow the state to scale up provision of services for a longer period of time, and provide a federal match of funds.

AB 1449 (Alvarez), Affordable Housing CEQA Exemption

Current law provides numerous protections for proposed affordable and supportive housing developments seeking local approval, including many by right approvals or CEQA exemptions. Unfortunately, the existing tools have many limitations and prevent access to CEQA streamlining. This bill would exempt from CEQA 100% affordable housing projects that meet rigorous labor standards and comply with specified environmental requirements.

AB 1657 (Wicks), Affordable Housing Bond of 2024

This bill provides the necessary authorization for a $10B statewide housing bond to be placed on the March 2024 ballot. AB 1657 is part of a broader effort that MidPen is supporting, “the California Housing Initiative”, to unlock significant regional and state bond revenue at the 2024 and lower the voter threshold for local affordable housing bond measures.

SB 4 (Wiener), Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act

This bill creates new streamlining provisions for underutilized commercial areas and presents a new and improved framework for labor requirements. The new standard would work to express the industry’s alignment with constructing homes using a fairly paid construction labor force.

SB 423 (Wiener), Streamlined Housing Approvals for Multifamily Developments

SB 35 Extension. This bill extends SB 35, providing streamlined, ministerial approval of projects in cities that have not met their RHNA goals. UC Berkeley’s Terner Center has reported that through 2021, over 18,000 units have been proposed under SB 35, with 13,000 (or nearly ¾) being affordable for very low or low-income households. The bill requires prevailing wages, with apprenticeship opportunities and healthcare requirements on projects with 50+ units.