California awards $1 billion to 30 shovel-ready housing projects

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California Construction News staff writer

California has awarded $1 billion to 30 shovel-ready projects through the California Housing Accelerator and passed legislation to streamline the housing approval process with new legislation.

New awards will help get construction underway quickly on 2,755 new housing units throughout the state – the vast majority for extremely low to very low-income households and unhoused residents, and will provide affordable homes for seniors, families, transitional-age youth, veterans.

“California has made historic investments and taken unprecedented actions to tackle the state’s housing crisis over the past four years,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “But we recognize there’s more work to do – this package of smart, much-needed legislation will help us build new homes while rebuilding the middle class. I’m thankful for the leadership of the legislature for stepping up to meet this moment to help address the affordability crisis that stretches across the entire nation.”

Newsom made the announcement at the future site of an affordable housing community in San Francisco.

“SB 6 and AB 2011 are game changers when it comes to producing desperately needed housing for all income levels,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “These two bills are the culmination of many years of work to find solutions that streamline the regulatory process and ensure that workers building homes are being paid a fair wage.

“With these laws in place, we will soon see more building and more jobs, and more families will be able to achieve the California Dream.”

The new legislation will:

  • Help create much-needed new housing units for low and middle income Californians by allowing housing to be built in underutilized commercial sites currently zoned for retail, office, and parking uses.
  • Generate thousands of jobs with health benefits and good wages – and encourage apprenticeships.
  • Increase use of public transit by building housing near existing transit or near corridors for new transit.

The Middle-Class Housing Act or SB 6 is an attempt to “build up and avoid sprawl” with  the construction of at least 2 million housing units, giving local governments the option for an expedited development process on vacant buildings.

Under SB6, builders will be required to pay workers fair wages and prioritize the use of a skilled and trained workforce.”

“No longer will there be a lack of incentive for workers to join the construction workforce. And, no longer will red tape and bureaucracy prohibit us from building housing in the right locations to address our climate crisis,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.

Last year’s California Comeback Plan committed a historic $10.3 billion for a comprehensive housing affordability strategy and Newsom said this year’s budget includes an additional $3.3 billion for affordable housing production and homeownership opportunities.

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