As the Bay Area gears up to place its first regional housing bond on the ballot, a bill aimed at ensuring the region can make the most of future voter-approved funds was approved by an Assembly committee this week.
Assembly Bill 1319, authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), would make technical changes to the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA)’s enabling legislation to enhance BAHFA’s ability to protect housing stability and promote affordability for millions of Bay Area residents.
The bill won approval from the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday. Wicks is chair of the committee. The bill clarifies confusing provisions and removes unintentional limitations in BAHFA's enabling legislation.
Specifically, AB 1319 updates the BAHFA statute to:
- Reflect the evolution of best practices for preventing homelessness;
- Facilitate new models of financing apartments affordable to moderate-income households;
- Fulfill requests from localities for assistance purchasing sought-after residential parcels; and
- Provide flexibility in anticipation of potential and proposed changes to state law.
The anticipated regional bond will allow BAHFA to scale-up its successful pilots and deliver other new production, preservation, and tenant protection tools for Bay Area communities. BAHFA is governed by the same geographically diverse board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Its expenditure plan must also be approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments, made up of 101 cities and towns and nine counties. An external advisory committee is charged with designing an equity framework to ensure BAHFA serves the needs of resource-poor communities throughout the region.
Other members of the Bay Area’s state legislative delegation who are bill co-authors include: assemblymembers Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), Alex Lee (D-San Jose), Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and senators Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco.)
Representatives from Enterprise Community Partners (co-sponsor), Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California (co-sponsor), All Home, SPUR and the California Housing Partnership Corporation testified in support of the bill.