California Awards $156 Million Locally to Build 550 Affordable Homes

California Awards $156 Million Locally to Build 550 Affordable Homes

People walk past a homeless encampment, as the state makes plans to fund more affordable housing, in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

11/10/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

A state-funded program aimed at preventing homelessness has been awarded $156.4 million in grants for affordable housing projects across the state, according to a Nov. 7 announcement by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The funding, for the state’s so-called Project Homekey initiative, will go to 12 projects in Alameda, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, Monterey, and Riverside counties to build 556 affordable housing units.
“Homekey continues to demonstrate that we can build quickly, and at a fraction of the usual cost, to deliver much-needed affordable homes for Californians struggling to find a place to live. There’s still more work ahead, but the state is confronting this housing crisis head on,” Mr. Newsom said in the announcement.
The grant seeks to help the state meet its affordable housing production goals, which are set forth under an eight-year plan for each region, of which a combined 2.5 million homes must be planned for by October 2029. Of those, nearly 1.5 million will be for those earning moderate, low, or very low incomes.
A "For Rent" sign is seen on a building in Hollywood, Calif., on May 11, 2016. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

A "For Rent" sign is seen on a building in Hollywood, Calif., on May 11, 2016. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier this year the governor also approved a new law that directs California’s Department of Housing and Community Development to begin a study by the end of 2026, analyzing ways to streamline affordable housing for such income.
According to a bill analysis of the new law, various lawmakers estimated there are currently about 480,000 subsidized housing units available for rent in California—about 3.5 percent of the state’s housing stock. Generally, they said, most were built using a mix of public and private financing and are for those who earn 80 percent or less of the median income in one’s county.
Under the new law, the state’s housing department is also tasked with identifying any constraints or obstacles in meeting their goal, examining existing social housing models, and analyzing the need for tenant protections for such housing as well as any federal funding, resources, or policy initiatives that could help advance the cause.
A homeless encampment stands in the Skid Row community in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A homeless encampment stands in the Skid Row community in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

State housing officials will additionally analyze potential local economic benefits that could result from using local unions in the construction of the proposed housing. They’re also authorized to remove any “constraints” on public land for such goals, if such doesn’t require legislative action, and to identify any revenue streams for a social housing fund.
Homekey is an extension of Project Roomkey, implemented in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program, hotels and motels can receive state funds to house the homeless in vacant rooms.
With the new funding, Project Homekey, since its inception also in 2020, will have created over 14,000 new affordable units, according to the recent announcement.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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