Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at housing affordability.
The first bill, Assembly Bill 911, would remove barriers for affordable housing developers by removing restrictions ahead of purchasing property for development. The second bill, AB 1014, would expand property tax credits available to veterans in an effort to keep housing costs manageable and keep veterans housed.
The announcement of these two bills comes on the heels of Schiavo’s announcement of her bill focused on funding affordable housing development for former foster youth (AB 963), as well as a bill package to address solutions to homelessness.
“Our community has been struggling for far too long with the cost of housing. Once a place where people moved for affordable homes, families are now priced out of our region. That is unacceptable, and I intend to do all I can to ensure everyone has the ability to afford a place they can call home,” Schiavo said in a prepared statement. “These two bills we are announcing today address historic barriers to housing, aiming to boost the supply of housing people can afford and support veteran homeowners.”
For decades, some neighborhoods have included historic restrictions, known as covenants, on properties that limit the allowable density or number of units permitted on a property, even when they may conflict with local zoning ordinances.
While recent 2021 legislation (AB 721) has forged a path for removing these restrictions for 100% affordable housing, developers must own the property before seeking to remove the covenant. For some developers, this creates uncertainty in a process that sometimes requires millions of dollars in investment to address an administrative hurdle, Schiavo’s statement said.
AB 911 would allow for a process of removing these restrictions for prospective buyers, while preserving local control and zoning, and also providing confidence to investors that they can build affordable housing on the properties they acquire.
To help address this veteran homelessness, veterans qualify for two separate tax credits, the Homeowners Exemption and the Veterans Exemption. These exemptions help lower the assessed value of a home, saving homeowners annually on their property taxes. However, veterans are limited to choosing one of the two exemptions they qualify for. If passed, AB 1014 will allow veterans to combine both homeowner tax credits to increase their savings on property taxes.
“We urgently need affordable housing to address our housing crisis. Uncertainty in affordable housing construction delays projects and prolongs the homelessness crisis. AB 911 aims to change that,” Schiavo added. “And with AB 1014, we are addressing a major issue for those that have served our nation: housing insecurity. This legislation will allow veterans additional financial help when they need it most — to secure home ownership.”