California voters will decide Nov. 6 the future of Proposition 1, known as the Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond, that would potentially provide funding through bonds for housing-related programs to support people in need throughout the state.
The measure would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for existing affordable housing-related programs, grants and housing loans for veterans, seniors and individuals with disabilities without raising taxes, according to the ballot.
Instead of putting the burden on taxpayers, private investors would buy the general obligation bonds, and the state would repay them with revenues from its general fund.
The disadvantage to a “yes” vote would be the risk incurred to taxpayers by selling those bonds if the government is already in much debt and needs a sturdy general fund, said Nick Callas, president of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Callas said the burden to repay might deplete the state of more money in the long run and negatively affect California taxpayers who might have to eventually pick up the slack.
“The financial impact will be taken out of the (state’s) general fund, and then we are affected if the balance to pay it in the first place falls short,” he said. “We shouldn’t be borrowing more money. So I oppose it. I’m pretty sure that position would stand for the majority of veterans we cover too (through the organization), which is the Santa Clarita, Simi, Antelope and San Fernando valleys.”
On the other hand, Michelle Heid, a local disability advocate and legislative educator, said she supports the proposition to provide affordable housing for the vulnerable communities because more immediate action is needed.
Heid works at Advanced Behavioral Pathways as a community and legislative educator who provides nonpartisan education about individuals with disabilities.
“We typically don’t take positions, but I personally do support Proposition 1 to provide affordable housing for the community,” she said. “It will expand the number of affordable housing units and create options for people with disabilities.
“There are difficulties with bonds, and it won’t solve the problem of a housing shortage altogether, but it’s still a step in the right direction,” she said. “It’s a problem locally, and we need to do something about it.”