Newsom Signs 31 New Housing Bills Into Law to Ease Housing Crisis

By Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.
September 28, 2021 Updated: September 29, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 27 new housing bills into law on Sept. 28, marking a total of 31 housing bills recently signed that are intended to “cut the red tape” in building new housing. However, critics say the bills will lead to high housing costs for home buyers.

Former Mayor of Costa Mesa Jim Righeimer said the bills’ goals of making accessory dwelling units (ADUs) easier to build may lower the cost of rent, but will raise the cost of home prices making homeownership unaffordable.

“This is the beginning of the end for Suburbia,” Righeimer told The Epoch Times. “You’ll end up with less homeowners and more renters.”

The governor is presenting the bills as part of the California Comeback Plan, which will invest $22 billion in housing and homelessness, leading to the creation of over 84,000 new housing units to help lead Californians away from homelessness. The plan will also fund a $100 million grant program for low-to-moderate-income homeowners to build ADUs on their properties, a type of secondary housing unit on a property that will increase density.

“The acute affordability crisis we are experiencing in California was decades in the making, and now we’re taking the necessary steps to fix it,” Newsom said in a statement after signing the bills at an affordable housing development in Oakland.

“This package of smart, bipartisan legislation boosts housing production in California—more streamlining, more local accountability, more affordability, more density. These bills, plus this year’s historic budget investments in affordable housing, will directly lead to more inclusive neighborhoods across the state. Creating denser housing near jobs, parks, and schools is key to meeting our climate goals as well as our affordability goals.”

The California Comeback Plan includes a $10.3 billion budget investment for affordable housing that will create more than 40,000 new affordable homes for low-income residents. Part of this includes $850 million for incentivizing infill development and smart growth, $800 million to preserve the state’s affordable housing stock, and $100 million to promote affordable homeownership as well as “significant funding” to scale up state efforts to increase accessory dwelling units.

Newsom announced the launch of a $100 million grant program for low-to-moderate-income homeowners to help build ADUs on their property, where homeowners can receive as much as $25,000 in assistance. This legislation is expected to help build 4,000 ADUs.

The process will help the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle, which requires every city and county in California to plan and zone for new housing, creating a problem for some cities in finding where to place and how to build the housing.

In combination, local governments will need to zone land for more than 2.5 million units statewide—more than double the obligation under the previous RHNA cycle. According to the governor’s office, the new bills signed Sept. 28 will help cities to meet those goals.

Also announced by Newsom on Sept. 28 is the launch of California’s new Housing Accountability Unit (HAU), which will ensure that local leaders are fulfilling RHNA allocations. The HAU will work with local governments to help provide “technical assistance” to comply with the legislation.

“It is absolutely imperative to meet these housing goals if we are serious about building an equitable future,” Newsom said. “And it is similarly imperative to meet these housing targets because unaffordable housing leads to hours-long car commutes—directly inhibiting our efforts to meet our climate goals. Creating denser housing closer to major employment hubs is critical to limiting California’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

The bills signed by Newsom on Sept. 28 include:

AB 68 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) – Department of Housing and Community Development: California Statewide Housing Plan: annual reports.

AB 215 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – Planning and Zoning Law: housing element: violations.

AB 345 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) – Accessory dwelling units: separate conveyance.

AB 447 by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) – California Debt Limit Allocation Committee: income taxes: low-income housing tax credits.

AB 491 by Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) – Housing: affordable and market rate units.

AB 571 by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Rancho Mirage) – Planning and zoning: density bonuses: affordable housing.

AB 602 by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) – Development fees: impact fee nexus study.

AB 634 by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) – Density Bonus Law: affordability restrictions.

AB 721 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – Covenants and restrictions: affordable housing.

AB 787 by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) – Planning and zoning: housing element: converted affordable housing units.

AB 838 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) – State Housing Law: enforcement response to complaints.

AB 948 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) – Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers: disclosures: demographic information: reporting: continuing education.

AB 1029 by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – Housing elements: prohousing local policies.

AB 1043 by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles) – Housing programs: rental housing developments: affordable rent.

AB 1095 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) – Affordable rental and owner-occupied housing: equity in state and local programs.

AB 1297 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) – California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank: public and economic development facilities: housing.

AB 1304 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) – Affirmatively further fair housing: housing element: inventory of land.

AB 1398 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – Planning and zoning: housing element: rezoning of sites: prohousing local policies.

AB 1466 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) – Real property: discriminatory restrictions.

AB 1584 by the Committee on Housing and Community Development – Housing omnibus.

SB 263 by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) – Real estate applicants and licensees: education requirements: fair housing and implicit bias training.

SB 290 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Density Bonus Law: qualifications for incentives or concessions: student housing for lower income students: moderate-income persons and families: local government constraints.

SB 381 by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) – Surplus residential property: priorities, procedures, price, and fund: City of South Pasadena.

SB 478 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Planning and Zoning Law: housing development projects.

SB 591 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) – Senior citizens: intergenerational housing developments.

SB 728 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) – Density Bonus Law: purchase of density bonus units by nonprofit housing organizations.

SB 791 by Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) – California Surplus Land Unit.

The Governor previously signed:

AB 1174 by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) – Planning and zoning: housing: development application modifications, approvals, and subsequent permits.

SB 8 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Housing Crisis Act of 2019.

SB 9 by Senator Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) – Housing development: approvals.

SB 10 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Planning and zoning: housing development: density.

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.