Legislative Advocacy

The SV@Home Action Fund champions state legislation that seeks to improve and expand the availability of affordable housing in Silicon Valley, while also prioritizing equity and environmental sustainability. The Action Fund’s legislative advocacy program includes taking positions on and advocating for legislation, convening roundtable discussions with local and state elected and civic leaders, and engaging in regional and Statewide pro-housing coalitions. The Action Fund maintains a lobbyist in Sacramento. Read about SV@Home’s regional collaboration on policy priorities.

The SV@Home Action Fund supported the following bills which were passed by the Legislature in 2023

ACA-1 will make it easier to raise money for affordable housing by lowering the voter threshold for housing bonds from an onerous supermajority (2/3rds) vote to a more reasonable 55% (in line with school bonds). This is important for the Bay Area because we are working to place a 9-county regional bond on the ballot next year, which will raise $10–$20 billion for affordable housing in the Bay Area.

Status: As a constitutional amendment, rather than regular legislation, ACA-1 does not require the governor’s signature, but instead will come before voters on the Nov. 2024 ballot. If passed in 2024, funding measures on the same ballot will be able to pass with the new 55% threshold.

AB-12 will limit rental home Security Deposits to no more than one month’s rent. Today, excessive security deposits typically equal two to three times the monthly rent on top of the rent itself. AB-12 will reduce a major barrier to housing for renters throughout California.

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor

AB-671 will enable community land trusts (CLTs) to access CalHome funding to create accessory dwelling units (ADUs, also called in-law units or granny flats).

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor

AB-911 allows developers to confirm with county recorders, prior to purchasing a parcel, that a restrictive covenant which AB-721 (2021) should make null and void will indeed be voided.

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

AB-1319 will increase flexibility for the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA), which seeks to provide innovative financing for affordable housing solutions at a regional scale. AB-1319 will enable BAHFA to support best practices to prevent homelessness, facilitate new financing models for moderate-income apartments, and help local cities purchase residential properties.

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

SB-4, the Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act, will overrule complicated, cost-prohibitive zoning rules and regulations to allow places of worship and colleges to build 100% affordable housing projects.

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

SB-423 will extend and update an effective 2017 law (SB-35) that allows approval of housing proposals without obstruction or delay by city councils. In its first three years, SB-35 led to the approval of over 18,000 new homes— the majority of which are subsidized for low-income households.

Status: Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

The SV@Home Action Fund supported the following bills which were signed into law in 2022

AB 1288 (Quirk-Silva) — Authorizes TCAC to redirect new credits to the 9% tax credit program in years when tax-exempt bonds are oversubscribed.

AB 1695 (Santiago) — Requires that any NOFA issued by the HCD for an affordable multi-family housing loan and grant program to state that adaptive reuse of a property for an affordable housing purpose is an eligible activity.

AB 2006 (Berman) — Requires that State housing agencies enter into an MOU to streamline the monitoring of projects that have funding from more than one agency.

AB 2011 (Wicks) — Allows for the by-right development of affordable homes on underutilized commercially-zoned property while creating strong labor protections that ensure that construction workers earn high wages. 

AB 2094 (Rivas/ Quirk-Silva) — Requires local governments to report on their progress in meeting their ELI housing needs when they submit annual plans to HCD.

AB 2097 (Friedman) — Prohibits a local government from imposing minimum parking requirements on residential sites if the development is located within 1/2 mile of public transit.

AB 2217 (Reyes) — Requires HCD to consider setting higher per-unit and total project allocations for CalHome funding recipients based on local development costs when appropriate. This bill also requires HCD to consider increasing the maximum unit and project allocations for each new round of funding.

AB 2234 (Rivas/ Grayson) — Requires local agencies to post information related to post-entitlement phase permits for housing development projects, process those permits in a specified time period depending on the size of the housing development and establish a digital permitting system if the local agency meets a specific population threshold.

AB 2244 (Wicks) — Clarifies that the definition of “religious-use parking spaces” applies to both existing parking spaces and new parking spaces for a proposed development for a new place of worship and makes amendments relating to the elimination of parking as a part of the development.

AB 2295 (Bloom) — Allows for affordable housing development on “local educational agency” land if it is a minimum of 10 units, the rents are affordable to lower-income families for 55 years, and the homes are available to teachers and employees. The statute sunsets on January 1, 2033.

AB 2334 (Wicks) — Allows a housing development project to receive added height and unlimited density if the project is located in a very low vehicle travel area and meets specified affordability requirements.

AB 2668 (Grayson) — An SB 35 clean-up bill prohibiting a local agency from denying a development based on restrictive requirements.

AB 2873 (Jones-Sawyer) — Requires certain housing sponsors who receive a TCAC allocation on or after January 1, 2024 to annually report to TCAC the diversity of the suppliers and contractors and short- and long-term diversity goals and timetables.

SB 490 (Caballero) — Establishes the Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Program within HCD to provide TA to communities seeking to acquire and rehabilitate affordable housing.

SB 649 (Cortese) — Allows local jurisdictions and developers to restrict occupancy by creating local tenant preferences for lower income households that are subject to displacement under various HCD and Tax Credit funded programs. 

SB 886 (Wiener) — Exempts student housing and faculty/staff housing from CEQA when a public university is proposing to use its land.

SB 897 (Wieckowski) — Would, among other clean-up actions, increase the height limitation for ADUs from 16 to 25 feet, prohibit the requirement for fire sprinklers and prohibit the imposition of an owner-occupied requirement.

SB 948 (Becker) — Creates a new Pooled Transition Reserve Fund and with continuous appropriations to mitigate the impacts on tenant rents from the loss or exhaustion of rental or operating subsidies.

SCA 2 (Allen/ Wiener) — Repeals Article 34 of the California Constitution which requires that jurisdictions receive approval from the voters to approve new affordable housing development.

During the 2021 legislative session, the SV@Home Action Fund prioritized advocating for passage of the following bills which were signed into law:

AB 215 (Chiu): State Housing Law Enforcement 

Enhances the state’s ability to enforce housing laws that have been passed by the Legislature in recent years, including violations of SB 35 requirements (streamlined ministerial approval for certain housing projects), violations of AB 2162 requirements (streamlining for permanent supportive housing), violations of AB 101 requirements (streamlining for low-barrier navigation centers), and violations of affirmatively furthering fair housing requirements. This bill further authorizes the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to refer local government violations of housing laws to the Attorney General. Finally, the bill clarifies the Attorney General’s authority to independently enforce state housing laws. Bill text can be seen here. 

AB 602 (Grayson): Impact Fee Nexus Study 

Requires a city, county, or special district to conduct and adopt a nexus study prior to the adoption of an impact fee. The bill further requires, for nexus studies adopted after July 1, 2022, for the fee to be calculated proportionately to the square footage of the proposed units. Bill text can be seen here

AB 1174 (Grayson): Permit Requirements 

Makes several changes to the streamlined, ministerial approval process established by SB 35 (Wiener, Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017) to ensure the law is applied as intended. AB 1174 specifies that the “shot clock” for a development or modifications is paused when a project is sued and clarifies that subsequent permit applications must only meet the objective standards that were in place when the project was initially approved. Bill text can be seen here

SB 7 (Atkins): CEQA Streamlining Program 

Reenacts the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (Act) and expanded the Act’s eligibility to include smaller housing projects, until January 1, 2026. Originally, the Act created some California Environmental Quality Act streamlining provisions, including expedited judicial review procedures for certain residential, retail, commercial, sports, cultural, entertainment, or recreational use projects, that meet specific objective environmental standards. The Act originally sunset January 1, 2021. Bill text can be seen here. 

SB 8 (Skinner): Housing Crisis Act of 2019

Extends the sunset on the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (Act) from January 1, 2025 to January 1, 2030. The Act prevents local governments from downzoning unless they upzone elsewhere, and it stops them from changing the rules for a residential development mid-way through the process once permit application has been filed. Bill text can be found here. 

SB 9 (Atkins): Housing Development Approvals 

Allows property owners to ministerially add a duplex or split a single-family lot into two and place duplexes on each. The bill allows no more than four housing units on a property currently limited to a single-family house. A proposed project under this new law cannot result in the demolition or alteration of affordable housing or housing that has been occupied by a tenant in the past three years. Properties listed as historic landmarks or those located within a historic district are off-limits for new development. Wetlands, farmland and properties or flooding are also exempt. Local governments can deny a lot split or a duplex if they find a development will have an adverse impact on public health and safety. Bill text can be found here.

SB 10 (Wiener): Planning and Zoning 

Authorizes a city or county to pass an ordinance to rezone a parcel for up to 10 units of residential density if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site. The bill is not a mandate. Bill text can be found here

SB 290 (Skinner): Density Bonus Law 

Makes various changes to Density Bonus Law, including providing additional benefits to housing developments that include low-income and moderate-income for-sale housing units. In addition, this bill awards an additional density bonus incentive or concession to a housing development that makes at least 20 percent of its units available to low-income students. Bill text can be found here

SB 478 (Wiener): Housing Developments – Floor Area Ratios

Prohibits a local government from imposing a floor area that is more restrictive than 1.0 for a parcel zoned for 3-10 units. The bill would allow a development that includes more square feet of livable area, possibly allowing for 2–3-bedroom units instead of one-bedroom units and allow more efficient use of land. Bill text can be found here

SV@Home and the CASA Compact

In 2018, SV@Home’s executive director served as one of three co-chairs of CASA – the Committee to House the Bay Area – which resulted in the CASA Compact. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Compact included a series of policy proposals known as the 3Ps that seek to Protect renters from unjust evictions and displacement, Preserve existing affordable housing units, and Produce more housing at all income levels. Since the adoption of the Compact, several important bills have been signed into law in support of those goals, including legislation that:

Protects renters from exorbitant rent hikes and from eviction without cause.

Limits displacement of renters when a property is redeveloped. 

Creates a new regional entity for housing, now known as the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA).

Enables the nine-county Bay Area to propose a regional funding source for housing and bring it before the voters.

Empowers homeowners to create smaller, more affordable homes with lot-splits and duplexes.

Streamlines the process for cities to upzone for moderately sized, multi-family properties.

Prevents downzoning of housing sites.