Housing Action Team

Problem Statement

  • There is an undersupply of housing in California, contributing to significant price escalation and worsening affordability across the state.
  • California lacks an adequate supply and mix of housing, in the right location, affordable to families, the workforce and special needs communities
  • High regulatory costs associated with housing production contribute to the housing shortage.
  • California’s housing shortage does and will continue to negatively impact the triple bottom line, constraining business access to a workforce and customer base, worsening affordability for low- and middle- income families, and worsening air quality and traffic congestion.

Goal Statement

  • Adequate supply of housing that aligns with current and future population demand and employment centers, including affordable housing for low-income workers and families as well as for vulnerable populations (e.g. disabled, homeless and seniors).
  • Diverse supply of housing with broad array of housing products available to residents from single-family detached homes to high-rise condominiums, to own or to rent. 
  • Access to public transportation that allows people in all neighborhoods freedom of movement to access to good jobs, healthcare, and healthy food without owning a car.


Action Team Co-Leads
David Smith, Stice & Block, LLP
Cathy Creswell, CA Department of Housing and Community Development (former) and Creswell Consulting

For a full list of Action Team members, click here. For the team’s 2012 accomplishments, see the Summit’s 2013 Year-End Summary Report.

Tracking Progress

Action Team

Goals for the Year

Progress update - September 1, 2015

Priority action identified in Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity in 2014:

Advocate for state action to increase accessibility of housing by broadening availability of housing stock across the state.

Targeted state funding: Inclusion of Summit ideas (importance of expanding housing stock, affordability, proximity to transit, for example) in passage of bills or executive action. Action should include:

• Approval of SB 391 or similar legislation to create permanent source of funding for affordable housing.
• Expansion of authority of Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs)--or another local economic development authority--with specific new tools for housing.

Sustainable communities: A new opportunity for collaboration among four Action Teams emerged in January to include Summit ideas in a range of state actions related to sustainable communities and environmental planning.

Update - August 5, 2014 Local financing tools: The Housing team joined the Infrastructure team in signing a letter to the Governor and Legislature urging state leaders to enact new “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts,” a promising new financing tool for increasing local infrastructure development. Accompanying the letter was a brief How-to Guide created by the Summit demonstrating how communities could use this new authority to invest in everything from sidewalk repair and water infrastructure to the implementation of sustainable communities plans. The letter also encouraged the Administration to support efforts to create a permanent funding source for affordable housing. Update - June 16, 2014 Permanent funding source: The final 2014-15 state budget takes an important first step toward one of the Summit’s top priorities: finding a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. The budget includes $100 million this year for affordable multi-family rental housing--a proposal supported by the Summit. It also directs 35 percent of all future cap-and-trade revenues to transit, affordable housing, and sustainable communities--a source of funding totaling almost $1 billion annually. (Housing alone will receive at least 10 percent of all cap-and-trade funds every year.) This proposal, also supported by the Summit, is an important step toward filling the funding gap created by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. Local financing tools: The Summit has also pushed the state to give local governments more authority to take on housing infrastructure challenges, including an expansion of Infrastructure Financing Districts. That proposal, supported by the governor, will be voted on later this summer. Update - April 5, 2014 Targeted state funding:

Permanent funding source: Team members are continuing to advocate for legislation, distributing fact sheets highlighting the urgency of the state's housing crisis.
Local financing tools: The Housing team has supported the Infrastructure team's recommendations for strengthening the governor's proposed expansion of IFD authority, which would include affordable housing. The Summit submitted these ideas to the Department of Finance in March, with Summit members testifying on their behalf in committee hearings.

Sustainable communities: The co-leads of the Housing team signed a February 25 letter to the Governor and Legislative leaders outlining 11 Summit recommendations for aiming the state's expanding drought response at the triple bottom line. The proposals include several ideas for integrated land-use planning. In March and April, Summit staff conducted briefings with aides to the authors of four water bonds, along with members of the governor's Drought Task Force. California Forward has also outlined its views on how to craft a winning water bond.
Housing Team's 2013 Action Plan

1. Innovate

Encourage public-private partnerships to provide affordable housing and the infrastructure needed to support it. Leverage non-traditional funding resources including but not limited to pension-fund investments, state credit enhancements, and new types of bond financing.

Promote economic development and business competitiveness. Housing projects must provide for a net increase in the workforce housing supply to meet the current and future workforce housing demands of California employers.

Encourage development of new housing models and designs to respond to changing demographics and market demand.

Identify/facilitate the funding of research to support the triple-bottom-line benefits of housing and identify barriers to a healthy housing supply and market.

Encourage local governments to incentivize housing located near current or projected job centers with permit streamlining, expedited environmental reviews and other measurable economic incentives.

Incentivize and support employer-assisted housing strategies, including creating a clearinghouse of successful models.

Identify and promote development of sites eligible for SB 375 CEQA Streamlining.

Educate communities about potential benefits of infill, compact development and transit-oriented development while identifying strategies to mitigate impacts.

Identify new housing models and evaluate the potential to accommodate changing market demands.

Update - August 5, 2014: See update above November 8, 2013 Summit commitments:
• Regional clearinghouse: One regional leader committed to developing input for a clearinghouse of best practices. • State advocacy: A state association representative committed to advocate for the need for affordable housing. Two commitments were also made to raise housing issues in other discussions, e.g. capital, infrastructure, regulations.

2. Create and Invest in Financing Tools

Create new funding resources to support development of housing affordable to low-income seniors, families and workers.

Modernize California's tax system at the local level, rewarding cities for developing housing rather than retail and office space.

Support new funding models for housing such as the $50 million Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable-Housing Fund (TOAH) which provides financing for the development of affordable housing and other vital community services near transit lines throughout the Bay Area.

Create a ""permanent source"" of funding to develop, rehabilitate and preserve housing affordable to low-income households.

Identify and support funding alternatives to redevelopment.

Update - August 5, 2014: See update above November 8, 2013 Summit commitments:
• Permanent state funding source: Ten regional and state leaders committed to build support for a permanent source of funding through legislation such as SB 391 (DeSaulnier), lowering the vote threshold for local/regional housing finance measures and cap & trade. • Partnerships: One regional leader committed to engage California Association of Realtors. • Private funds: A federal representative committed to work with banks and non-bank lenders in providing funds for construction & take-out financing for housing.

3. Reform and Incentivize

Update General Plans and zoning to establish consistent, transparent standards that promote development certainty for housing.

Increase incentives for more robust implementation of SB 375 and leverage the potential of Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS). Local jurisdictions can and should incent development of housing consistent with the region's Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) adopted pursuant to SB 375. Develop strategies to help local governments reduce permitting fees for housing development, speed up the time it takes to get permits, and reduce regulatory barriers to housing development.

Reform the California Environmental Quality Act, particularly as it relates to residential development, by streamlining the process to make it faster, less costly and more predictable.

Support rural housing development to adequately house workers and maintain the rural landscape and agricultural industry.

Identify funding options for local governments to comprehensively update general plans and zoning requirements. Link funding to updates and zoning revisions that will promote infill, transit-oriented development, and that will streamline and expedite development approval and certainty.

Encourage MPOs to link transportation funding (including transit resources, infrastructure, vehicles and operating expense) and other incentives to housing production and preservation goals. For example, SANDAG and MTC reward jurisdictions with compliant housing elements.

Identify appropriate State funds to reward local governments for housing production and preservation consistent with certified housing elements and SCSs.

Encourage and incentivize local governments to review existing development regulations to identify areas to update to streamline approval process and revise outdated development standards. Develop model ordinances and standards for easy use and adoption by local governments.

Consider strategies to expand use of CEQA exemptions including for residential uses in specific plans and infill.

Update - July 29, 2014 CEQA: The leaders of five Summit action teams sent a letter to the Governor in July requesting that the Administration complete a peer review of a scheduled update of the CEQA Guidelines before they are released--and to include in that peer review process state agencies that are obligated to comply with these updated Guidelines. The letter was signed by leaders of the Regulations, Manufacturing, Capital, Infrastructure, and Housing action teams. Update - April 5, 2014: The Regulations team's new ""SOAR team on CEQA"" submitted a letter to the governor's Office of Planning and Research in February outlining a set of recommendations for adding certainty and clarity to the CEQA process in OPR's soon-to-be-completed CEQA Guidelines. November 8, 2013 Summit commitments:
• Expand market incentives: A city housing commissioner committed to work with developer community to expand market incentives. • Develop strategies to help local governments: A building association representative committed to work directly with local agencies to update general plans and streamline approval processes such that SB 375 incentives are realized. • State policy incentives: Nearly a dozen regional and state leaders committed to engage state policymakers to address barriers to affordability through regulatory reform and support real on-the-ground incentives for SB 375. • Reform CEQA: One commitment to research the effects of CEQA on housing and coordinate funding for the study. • Education: Several commitments were made to improve knowledge about conditions and cost of housing market.

4. Support Inclusion and Social Equity:

Promote a wide range of housing options. Help local governments meet their Regional Housing Needs allocation and housing for special-needs populations. Support new development projects, ""for sale"" housing as well as rental housing, multi-family or detached, and any creative combination. Support projects offering a full spectrum of price ranges and affordability for the workforce.

Develop strategies to protect existing neighborhoods and housing while revitalizing communities and increasing housing supply.

Support community involvement and local planning. Support projects consistent with the local jurisdiction's long-range planning to accommodate future population and jobs growth.

Promote housing types and designs that accommodate the full life cycle such as universal design Granny flats.

Promote revisions of local standards to incentivize development of full range of housing types and choices including multifamily, manufactured housing, Single Room Occupancy units, supportive housing, duplexes and four-plexes.

Target infrastructure improvements and community amenities to existing neighborhoods impacted by redevelopment and new transportation systems.

Develop strategies to discourage displacement of existing residents in impacted neighborhoods.

Identify mechanisms to marshal business and industry support for projects that meet specified standards.

Update - August 5, 2014: See update above November 8, 2013 Summit commitments:
• Partnerships: One state leader committed to continue to build partnerships to advance inclusion and social equity. Inclusion and social equity were implicit commitments in other sections.