A person stands on a balcony next to new residential units under construction in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has authorized the Department of Housing and Community Development to oversee allocations totaling $239 million to seven communities across the state with the intention of expediting development of affordable housing and public transportation.
“With nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, California is jump-starting the construction of new and affordable housing throughout the state,” Mr. Newsom said in an Aug. 25 press release
announcing the funding. “In a post pandemic world and as we strive to build more housing, California is using this opportunity to re-imagine the future of our cities—creating communities where people drive less and live closer to their jobs and kids’ schools.”
The money is derived from the Infill Infrastructure Grant Catalytic program administered by the department and designed to provide funding to facilitate construction of affordable housing and public transportation infrastructure in California.
Grants are designed to construct 3,249 affordable rental homes, 2,156 market-rate rental homes, and 75 affordable homes for ownership, according to the press release.
The investments in housing development follow the state’s objective of building 2.5 million homes by 2030—as determined by a housing agency report
in March 2022—with 1 million low-income housing units included in the total to help alleviate the housing shortage impacting the state.
Cities approved for participation in the program include Fresno, San Diego, and San Francisco—each receiving $45 million, Oakland $40 million—Los Angeles $35 million, El Cerrito $20 million, and $9 million for Santa Rosa.
“These awards are just the most recent example of the state clearing the path to create more housing at all income levels,” Gustavo Velasquez, director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, said in the press release. “We are ensuring that lack of infrastructure is not a barrier to infill housing. These awards are a reflection of cities and counties doing the right things so that, together, we continue to build more housing faster.”
(California Department of Housing and Community Development/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Money will be used in Los Angeles to demolish existing buildings, grade surfaces, and improve streets by upgrading utilities, curbs, and sidewalks. The grant will also provide for construction of 75 affordable housing units.
Plans for San Diego include demolition, excavation, and grading to accommodate parking and housing development while improving concrete paving and traffic signals.
Other improvements in selected regions include bike pathways, bus shelters, landscaping, green spaces, and land acquisition.
“[This] funding will speed up and reduce the cost of constructing housing by paying for water and sewer hookups, sidewalk improvements, parks, and green space, and other improvements that are the connective tissue for housing,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary for the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, said in the same press release. “These investments will allow more people to live in homes that are closer to work, schools, grocery stores and other amenities in a walkable community that is also near transit.”
Officials also noted that projects initiated by the grant money will benefit local communities by removing obstacles to development and partnering with local contractors and businesses.
With the grant money now approved to launch projects across the state, communities can expect to see construction starting soon, according to the release.