California News: Stepping up to Confront the Housing Crisis

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (STL.News) California Governor Gavin Newsom today convened top executives from major California employers for a round-table discussion on the important role the private sector must play in addressing the state’s housing affordability crisis.  The Governor called on these businesses to go even further in funding affordable housing for the community, and in supporting projects that create new housing opportunities for Californians of all income levels.

“Addressing the housing affordability crisis requires all sectors – business, philanthropy and government – to step up and collaborate on solutions that make significant contributions toward housing production,” said Governor Newsom.  “No single approach will solve this problem. It requires a coordinated effort with difficult conversations and leading-edge solutions to make a meaningful impact.  The companies I met with today get the urgency of the problem and are leaning in to do more.”

Governor Newsom met with over a dozen executives today, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Pinterest Co-Founder and CEO Benjamin Silbermann, Minted Founder and CEO Marian Naficy, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Blue Shield of California President and CEO Paul Markovich, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Facebook CFO David Wehner, Sequoia Capital Partner and Chairman Michael Moritz, Splunk President of Worldwide Field Operations Susan St. Ledger, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors Chris Larsen, Tanium Co-Founder and CEO Orion Hindawi, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan and SV Angel Founder and Co-Managing Partner Ron Conway, as well as leaders from community-based organizations such as the San Francisco Foundation, Tipping Point Community, All Home, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Destination Home and the SF Housing Accelerator Fund.

At the meeting, the Governor highlighted recent commitments to build more affordable housing made by Apple, Facebook and Google, and encouraged other companies to follow their lead.  These commitments follow the Governor’s call for corporate leaders to do more to help address the workforce housing issues exacerbated by their companies’ growth.

The Governor urged the business leaders to step up and support their communities through a variety of measures, including taking advantage of $500 million in tax credits provided for in the 2019 Budget Act to invest in affordable housing loans, investing capital in affordable housing funds and nonprofits committed to providing wrap-around services for vulnerable populations, partnering with local advocacy organizations to support housing projects and local tenant protections, and collaborating with each other to amplify their efforts.

Housing affordability has been a top priority for Governor Newsom and is a central pillar of his broader “California for All” agenda. Last week, the Governor announced the availability of $610 million in funding to help California communities build more housing and increase transit and active transportation options close to job centers and services – this follows the release of $279 million from the Infill Infrastructure Grant program.

In October, Governor Newsom signed 18 bills into law designed to help jump-start housing production, including SB 330, major legislation aimed at removing local barriers to housing construction and speeding up new development.  The Governor also signed AB 1482 to create a statewide rent cap and eviction protections – the strongest renter protections in the nation.

The state budget signed in June made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives – both sticks and carrots – to incentivize cities to approve new home construction.  The budget also provided $20 million for legal services for renters facing eviction as well as $1 billion to help cities and counties fight homelessness.

The high cost of housing and rent has also been the focus of executive action. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land in order to find parcels to develop into affordable housing, launching partnerships with six California cities in April to develop affordable housing on that land and, last month, announcing the first Request for Proposal (RFP) on state-owned land will be issued in the City of Stockton.  The Newsom administration has also enforced state housing law – putting more than forty cities on notice that they were out of compliance with state housing requirements and in jeopardy of legal action.