California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) recently introduced legislation in the California State Senate that would create a permanent funding source for California’s Housing Trust Fund, which has not had a permanent funding source since the fund’s passage in 1985. The Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Act (S.B. 1220) would support the development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable homes for low-income and moderate-income households, including emergency shelters, transitional and permanent rental housing, foreclosure mitigation, and homeownership opportunities. The bill proposes to fund the Housing Trust Fund by creating a $75 document recording fee on real estate transactions, the goal being to generate an average of $700 million per year for affordable housing.
Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Vice-Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, is a principal co-author of S.B. 1220 and the bill is co-sponsored by Housing California and the California Housing Consortium. S.B. 1220 was sent to the California Senate Committee on Rules for assignment.
UPDATE: June 1, 2012
The California State Senate voted May 31, 2012 on SB 1220 and unfortunately while the Act received the majority vote, it fell two votes shy of the 2/3rds vote needed for passage in the State Senate on a 25-13 party-line vote. Although the measure did not pass the Senate, California housing advocates believe that the need for increased affordable housing has achieved enough bipartisan support within the California legislature for the measure to possibly make headway in the coming year.