Voters Gear Up to Champion Affordable Housing

Affordable housing and homelessness are among the top issues for California voters. While activists and elected officials continue looking for alternative ways to provide funding for new home development, several initiatives are on the ballot for you to consider when casting your vote in the upcoming election.

Statewide: AB 1657 (Wicks): The Affordable Housing Bond of 2024. Currently working its way through the California State Legislature, The Affordable Housing Bond of 2024 would allow voters to decide on a $10 billion bond to provide funding for affordable rental housing for lower-income families, homeownership opportunities, and supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. If legislators pass the bill, voters will decide on the bond this November. Many housing programs will likely see their funding cut in a tough budgeting year for California. That’s why the Bond will be critical to keeping our state on track with our affordable housing goals.

Los Angeles: Measure A: The Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now Measure. Voters in Los Angeles County will likely have the chance to vote for more affordable homes, more mental health care services, and more accountability for homelessness programs. This small sales tax – just half of one percent – will replace Measure H, a housing measure passed in 2017 that has helped Mercy Housing California build many Permanent Supportive Homes. If voters support the new Measure in November, Los Angeles County can count on more support for people experiencing homelessness, as well as preventative measures such as affordable housing that stop families from losing their homes in the first place.

Bay Area: The Bay Area Regional Housing Bond: For the first time, all nine San Francisco Bay Area counties will likely see the same housing initiative on their ballots this November. The Bay Area Regional Housing Bond would generate up to $20 billion for affordable housing throughout these counties, helping the whole region address the housing shortage. The Bond is led by the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, an agency created in 2019 to increase collaboration throughout the nine counties and help cities work together to address affordable housing needs. If it passes, the Bond could be a game-changer for Mercy Housing’s work in the South Bay, San Francisco, and beyond.

Mercy Housing Endorses Measures

Mercy Housing is proud to endorse these three crucial measures and a proposed constitutional amendment, ACA 1, that would make it possible to pass housing and infrastructure bonds with a 55% vote. These measures currently require a 2/3 vote because of a series of state propositions from the taxpayer revolt of the 1970s. If ACA 1 is passed by voters this November, the lowered 55% threshold will also apply to measures on the same ballot, including AB 1657.

Lastly, we want to alert supporters to the dangers of a new measure from the California Business Roundtable, the California Two-Thirds Legislative Vote, and Voter Approval for Fee and Charge Increases Initiative. This would not only repeal past voter-approved tax measures for housing and homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco but also require a 2/3 vote for new citizen initiatives to pass. Mercy Housing strongly opposes this measure and hopes the courts will remove it from the ballot.

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