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Governor Signs Bill Bolstering Bay Area Housing Finance Authority

California State Capitol building. Photo credit: By David Monniaux via Wikimedia Commons.

Governor Newsom on Wednesday signed Assembly Bill 1319, an MTC- and ABAG-sponsored bill by East Bay Assemblymember Buffy Wicks that will ensure the Bay Area can capitalize on future voter-approved funds. Newsom’s approval is timely, as MTC and ABAG are ramping up to place their first regional housing bond on the November 2024 ballot.  

Assembly Bill 1319 modifies the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority’s enabling statute to enhance BAHFA’s ability to protect housing stability and promote affordability for millions of Bay Area residents.

The bill allows BAHFA to expand programs, removes unintentional limitations on its authority and clarifies ambiguous provisions of law. Key changes authorize BAHFA to:

  • Employ new best practices for preventing homelessness;
  • Finance apartments affordable to moderate-income households;
  • Help cities and counties purchase sought-after residential buildings and land; and
  • Take advantage of the lower vote threshold for regional bonds and special taxes if voters pass ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry) next November. 

Eleven members of the Bay Area’s state legislative delegation co-authored AB 1319: Assemblymembers Matt Haney and Phil Ting of San Francisco; Ash Kalra and Alex Lee of San Jose; Tim Grayson of Concord; and Gail Pellerin, whose district includes portions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Co-authors in the state Senate include Josh Becker of Menlo Park; Dave Cortese of San Jose; Bill Dodd of Napa; Nancy Skinner of Berkeley; and Scott Wiener of San Francisco.

Enterprise Community Partners and Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California co-sponsored AB 1319. Other Bay Area supporters included All Home, City of San Jose, East Bay Housing Organizations, Public Advocates, San Francisco YIMBY, SPUR, Transform, and many more.

The anticipated $10 billion to $20 billion regional bond will enable BAHFA to scale-up its successful pilot programs and deliver other new housing production and preservation tools for Bay Area communities. Eighty percent of the revenue will go directly to counties and cities to address local housing priorities.  

BAHFA is governed by the same geographically diverse board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Its expenditure plan must also be approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments. An external advisory committee is charged with designing an equity framework to ensure BAHFA serves the needs of resource-poor communities throughout the region.

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