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Housing Policy Leaders Endorse Strategy to Ease Bay Area’s Housing Affordability Crisis

CASA Compact Caps 18-Month Effort to Produce, Preserve and Protect
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John Goodwin, MTC (415) 778-5262
Randy Rentschler, (415) 778-6780

January 18, 2019 UPDATE:  At its monthly meeting on December 19, 2018, MTC voted to authorize Commission Chair Jake Mackenzie to sign on to the CASA Compact. The ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) Executive Board at its January 17, 2019, meeting voted to authorize Board President David Rabbitt to sign on to the Compact as well. 

Original Press Release, Dated December 12, 2018:

The 21-member steering group of CASA — the Committee to House the Bay Area — on December 12, 2018, approved the CASA Compact, a set of policy recommendations to both state and local officials designed to help solve the Bay Area’s longstanding housing-affordability problem by encouraging the production of more housing for people at all income levels, preserving affordable housing that already exists and protecting current residents from displacement in rapidly changing neighborhoods.

To achieve these “three Ps,” the CASA Compact details 10 separate elements as well as five calls to action. Specific policy recommendations include:

  • Just-cause eviction policy;
  • Emergency rent cap;
  • Emergency rent assistance and access to legal counsel;
  • Removal of regulatory barriers to additional dwelling units;
  • Minimum zoning near transit;
  • Reforms to housing-approval processes;
  • Expedited approvals and financial incentives for select housing types;
  • Unlock public land for affordable housing;
  • Raise $1.5 billion from a range of sources to fund implementation of the CASA Compact; and
  • Establish a regional housing enterprise to implement the CASA Compact.

“The Compact reflects a shared understanding that our housing problems have been a long time in the making and have many different causes,” explained CASA Co-chair and San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell. “We believe all sectors and all interests should share the responsibilities, and reap the benefits, of solving the crisis.”

Comprised of major employers, for-profit and nonprofit housing developers, labor and environmental leaders, public policy and affordable housing advocates, transportation experts, charitable foundations and elected officials, CASA was convened in mid-2017 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to tackle the region’s housing crisis head on.

Echoing the view that solutions require action across multiple fronts, CASA Co-chair Leslye Corsiglia, executive director of San Jose-based Silicon Valley at Home, observed, “Affordable housing for lower-income residents is only part of the puzzle. We need to find ways to include more housing at all income levels in every neighborhood, in every city, in every county.”

“We’re encouraged that Governor-elect Newsom and so many other state and local policymakers are making housing a priority,” commented Michael Covarrubias, the third CASA co-chair and chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based developer TMG Partners. “Our region has long had an imbalance between housing supply and housing demand. What’s changed in recent years is that the situation has gone from serious to critical. To get the market swinging back toward equilibrium, we need policies that create more fair and more uniform requirements for developers to produce more housing more quickly in every corner of the Bay Area.”

CASA Compact by the Numbers

The CASA Compact preamble notes that since the Great Recession ended in 2010, the Bay Area has added 722,000 jobs but constructed only 106,000 housing units. The Compact calls for producing 35,000 housing units a year, 14,000 of which are affordable to lower-income households and 7,000 to moderate-income households; preserving 30,000 affordable units; and protecting 300,000 lower-income households from displacement.