Vice President, Government Relations
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Last Friday, Sept. 15, our state took a bold step forward in addressing our state’s housing crisis. The California Legislature approved a set of bills that will greatly improve California’s ability to create new and more affordable housing. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign them all. Among other things, these pieces of legislation:
- streamline permitting processes for housing developments that fulfill environmental and zoning requirements in localities that have failed to meet their housing requirements (Senate Bill 35);
- create an ongoing funding source for low-income housing development (SB2); and
- will put a $4 million housing bond measure on the 2018 statewide ballot (SB3).
SVCF staff worked intensely with California Senator Scott Wiener to pass SB 35, which will help accelerate and simplify new housing production in the Bay Area and across the state by streamlining the permitting process. Staff lobbied legislators at every stage of the legislative process, launched a communication campaign, partnered with housing advocates to help spread the word, and engaged our community partners and donor community. We hosted Sen. Wiener at our offices for our Legislative Luncheon in August. He told attendees that SVCF’s early support was incredibly important in building momentum for his bill and encouraging support from others. We are proud to have helped in the efforts to pass SB 35.
We know that California’s housing problems are complex, and there are no easy fixes. But this is a good beginning. We will continue to use all the tools in our philanthropic toolbox to ensure that cities are held accountable for creating affordable housing, and that communities can explore innovative ways to create more housing.
It took many voices to push this ambitious legislative agenda to address the housing crisis. We are proud of and thankful for our state’s leadership, the work of housing advocates and our community partners, and the support of our donor community. Together, we are helping to build a more diverse and vibrant California.
Read SVCF’s recent report, “Silicon Valley’s Housing Crisis: How did we get here, and what can we do about it?”