The state passed SB 2 in 2017. This is a bill that would reduce the cost of shelters in California by providing a continuous source of affordable housing finance in an industry that relies primarily on disposable money.
Since then, the state has collected more than $1.6 billion in fees levied on real estate transactions. But by the end of 2021, the state spent less than a quarter of that total on housing and the homeless.
Five years ago, Senate Speaker Protem Atkins said he created SB 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, to “provide desperately needed funding for permanent housing with supporting services.” was intended. This allowed the state to collect revenue from fees charged on certain real estate transactions, such as refinancing mortgages.
Atkins acknowledged that the funding won’t solve the crisis overnight, but said it will provide housing stability and benefit thousands of California families each year.
Not only will SB 2 help produce more homes, it will also help local agencies update community planning and lower overall housing costs.
“After today’s vote, we are increasingly hopeful that relief will come soon to many hardworking people,” Atkins previously said.
Under that law, all real estate documents required by law to be recorded currently have a fee of $75 each, and the total fee is limited to $225 per transaction. The state was then to distribute the money to local programs and affordable housing projects statewide.
The Voice of San Diego found that the state had raised more than $1.6 billion by the end of 2021. This year he is just 17.7% spent statewide as of June 30th. It was spent on her two major programs. $144.7 million went into housing projects statewide through the state’s mixed-income multifamily loan program, and approximately $139 million was spent on community assistance programs.
People were supposed to feel the effects.
“When we see results for the money we pay for services, when we can pay for something that will change our condition and improve people’s quality of life…they will be more affordable housing.” We will appreciate our efforts to provide a
But housing affordability in San Diego has reached critical levels, and homelessness is San Diego’s top concern in polls. Over the past decade, the number of residents in the county who can afford mid-priced homes has halved. According to the California Association of Realtors’ Home Affordability Index, the typical home is currently affordable to only 19 percent of her residents. And since 2017, asking rents for San Diego apartments have risen about 29%.
Voice repeatedly attempted to set up an interview with Atkins. After sending spokesperson Doug Case the amount she had collected and paid by SB 2 and demanding that Atkins give an “appropriate briefing” in an interview, her office announced that the California legislative session She said she was unable to accommodate due to a busy start.
Instead, she emailed a statement that SB 2 “continues to be one of the few reliable and permanent sources of funding for affordable housing,” and plans how the funds will be used. It gives local agencies flexibility in doing so.
San Diego County has collected more than $154 million in real estate fees by the end of 2021. Approximately 5.3% of these funds raised from real estate transactions in San Diego fund local outreach programs.
Agencies can raise funding over a three-year period, and some may wait until more funding becomes available. This means that most of the funds have not yet been used, but their availability allows local governments to plan future projects.
The state has set aside approximately 15% of SB 2’s revenues for a mixed-income, multi-family loan program aimed at addressing the “missing middle” in the housing industry. These loans will be used for housing projects statewide, including his four developments in San Diego County, but the funds will not be used until construction is complete.
Valencia Point Apartments is the only project ever completed in the county. Atkins said in an email that his 102-unit affordable ultra-low-income housing development is a great example of the progress SB 2 has brought.
In total, $20.4 million of mixed-income program loans have been committed to four projects in San Diego, which may be a mix of SB 2 funding and other sources, according to the state housing finance agency. Agency spokesperson Chris Saur said. Until the loan is disbursed after construction, Saur said he won’t know if the project will use SB 2’s funding or another source.
“While we technically don’t send money later, that commitment is what makes the construction of these units possible,” Saur said in an email.
Most of the SB 2 funds set aside for community support were spent on the Permanent Community Housing Allocation (PLHA). According to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, these awards support “housing-related projects and programs that help address unmet housing needs in local communities.”
SB 2 helped fund the second round of PLHA Awards, which awarded over $9.6 million to agencies in the county. Only about $6.4 million of that has been spent, according to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Having a permanent source of funding is a long-term dream,” said Steven Russell, CEO of the San Diego Housing Federation, but the city plans to build on the funding it’s given. Instead, if states could spend money all at once, and local governments could plan more boldly, we could prevent homelessness, “one of the most important humanitarian problems of our time.” more likely.
“It’s very difficult to plan, especially in a sector where the life of a project, from land acquisition to ribbon cutting, is five to seven years,” says Russell.
Cities are required to present a five-year plan for how the funds will be used, and awards will be awarded based on the size of the area’s population and level of need for low-income residents. Russell cites the example of National City, where in 2020 he was awarded $611,141 in a permanent rural housing allotment.
“If instead of $600,000, National City borrowed for three years, it would actually be a very different and meaningful amount that could be spent differently,” Russell said. “If you know you’re making money year after year, you can plan differently.”
Ginger Hitzke, an affordable housing developer and San Diego County planning commissioner, said the agency would rack up some money if the state later allowed larger projects to be given the proper amount. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said.
What real estate fees have helped raise in the past
Only 45 local agencies in the state did not apply for SB2 grant funding. Another 494 locations have already received funding or are reviewing applications, according to the State Planning Grants and Rural Housing Strategy Map.
The majority of SB 2 funding went to the Planning Grants Program, which is primarily used to update land use plans to meet local needs. The program provides financial and technical assistance to help agencies “prepare, adopt, and implement improvements to plans and processes that streamline housing approvals and accelerate home production.”
In the first round of SB 2, half of the funding was set aside to “target the homeless” and the other half was allocated to regional planning and technical assistance to “streamline development.”
One way SB 2 can help streamline housing development is by skipping public reviews of planning permits, Hitzke said.
Russell said the city of San Diego is doing what most municipalities in the county and the county itself aren’t doing. Updated land use codes to skip the public decision step and meet criteria for projects that can build homes. According to Russell, local departments are often “strained,” and he said SB 2’s funding for planning and technical assistance would help cities function effectively amidst ever-changing housing laws. It might help.
SB 2 also funded the second round of the California Emergency Solutions Housing (CESH) program. From July 2020 to June 2021, the program will reach 142 people at risk of homelessness, 39 people who are already homeless, 11 elderly people, and 73 minors with housing. reported to have provided.
In the second round of SB 2, 10% of the funds were designated exclusively for farmworker housing.
Currently, the Mixed Income Multifamily Loan Program is expected to put approximately $65 million into projects statewide with the help of 2022 SB 2 funds. According to Jordan Marks, the county’s assessed taxpayer advocate, San Diego expects 2022 to be due to higher interest rates and lower recorded refinancing amounts.
Local governments must apply for the state’s third round of funding by the end of this year.
Going forward, Russell said he hopes that “$1” of SB 2 will go toward permanent, affordable housing.
“As a citizen, I mean, it’s just heartbreaking,” Russell said. “From a professional perspective, my department builds permanent supportive housing, which means we believe that the answer to homelessness, the only solution to homelessness, is home.”