Newsom signs Schiavo’s affordable housing bills

Politics and government

News release 

Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, announced that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed her package of bills (Assembly Bill 519 and AB 911) to streamline the development of affordable housing.  

These bills reduce administrative barriers and allow restrictive covenants to be modified during the purchase of the property, which will make a major impact on getting affordable housing developed across the state and help us address our housing affordability crisis, Schiavo’s office said in a news release. 

“Communities across California, including those in our district, are facing a housing crisis,” Schiavo said in the release. “Too many families simply can’t afford housing … and that is partly due to the roadblocks faced by developers who build affordable housing. That’s why when I came to Sacramento, one of my priorities was focused on ensuring we address this growing crisis — I am proud that these two bills go a long way to reducing red tape and ensuring we can get more affordable housing built as quickly as possible.”  

Schiavo added, “AB 519 removes red tape by reducing administrative barriers and costs in housing development, and AB 911 will provide more opportunities and choice where families want to live. I am grateful that the governor signed both of these bills and I look forward to working with him to expedite the process.”   

AB 519 requires the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency, and the Treasurer’s Office to jointly convene a workgroup composed of affordable and permanent supportive housing developers, local governments and tribal governments to help create a single consolidated application and coordinated review process among the state entities involved in affordable housing finance. The workgroup is required to report recommendations to the Legislature on implementing a single application, and each of the state entities must provide a plan on updating their programs based upon the workgroup’s findings. 

For an affordable housing developer, a density restrictive covenant on a piece of real estate creates another financial barrier to a developer who wants to bring affordable homes to a community quickly. AB 721 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, 2021) established a process for removing density covenants for 100% affordable housing. However, this could only be done after the purchase, creating hesitancy in some developers, Schiavo’s statement said.  

The passage of AB 911 allows a developer to check to make sure a covenant can be removed for their project and to remove the restrictive covenant while the property is in escrow, thus streamlining the process and moving the project forward to shovel-ready. 

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