Assemblymember Irwin introduces legislation to establish California Housing Agency, streamlining the housing supply in the state.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Today, after the State of the State address by Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D – Thousand Oaks) introduced Assembly Bill 2506, which creates a stand-alone Housing Agency, with a Cabinet-level Secretary, charged with overseeing all activities related to housing.

“I applaud Governor Newsom on his commitment to address the housing crisis in California,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “It should be of the highest importance for the Legislature to address this problem in a responsible and sustainable way so our housing supply can meet our needs and be accessible for California families.”

“AB 2506, is a necessary reform which concentrates California’s efforts into one agency, allowing for more streamlined and timely action to increase our housing supply shortfall,” added Irwin. “I look forward to working with Governor Newsom on this bill as a key component of his Administration’s response to this crisis.”

Governor Newsom set a goal of 3.5 million new units by 2025. To reach this goal, California must build housing five times faster than its current rate. Housing supply shortages will continue to put upward pressure on home prices unless more housing units are built. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) estimates 180,000 new units are needed each year to keep up with population growth, but figures from the Department of Finance show California has been falling short by 100,000 units every year for the past eight years. In 2019, California issued 110, 218 total housing units, which is a 7 percent annual decrease from 117,892 units in 2018.

Homelessness is the most pronounced sign of the housing crisis. California is home to 12 percent of the nation’s population, but a disproportionate 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population. The typical California household spends about 26 percent of their monthly income on housing. On the other hand, the typical household in the rest of the country spends about 20 percent. Lack of supply and rising costs are compounding on growing inequality for Californians.

AB 2506 would establish a Secretary of Housing, who would provide the Governor with a singular focus and expertise to oversee and interact with the entities that play a role in the housing market. The newly established California Housing Agency would encompass the Department of Real Estate, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency, the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council all under a single reporting structure, making it a one-stop shop.

Currently, there are various housing entities within the state government, which have duplicative requirements due to their placement in separate agencies and have different Secretaries with broader portfolios. AB 2506 eliminates redundant layers of bureaucracy and prioritizes housing in our state. This reform in structure will encourage collaboration among the state’s housing programs, reduce the cost of development, generate more homes, and most importantly, provide a sustainable housing organization framework to serve Californians and their ongoing needs for housing.

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Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin represents California’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Camarillo, Channel Islands Beach, El Rio, Lake Sherwood, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Rosa Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.