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California Voters Could Repeal Amendment Long Hampering Public Housing

A state constitutional amendment from the 1950s has been used to hold back public housing, but voters could have a chance to strike it down later this year.
January 9, 2020, 11am PST | Camille Fink
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Multi-Family Building

A California constitutional amendment, a barrier to the development of public housing, could be up for repeal. The amendment dates back to 1950, the result of backlash against the federal Housing Act of 1949, writes Louis Hansen.

"Californians added Article 34 to the state’s constitution to make it easier to derail public housing projects and preserve segregated neighborhoods, according to the bill’s authors. The article requires voters in a city or county to approve most publicly-funded, affordable housing developments," says Hansen.

While some municipalities have found workarounds to the referendum requirements, the legislation has made it more challenging to get projects off the ground, particularly in rural areas and communities with high poverty levels, adds Hansen. "Louis Mirante, legislative director for California YIMBY, said Article 34 originally targeted public housing but has stifled other types of subsidized, affordable housing development."

California voters have had the opportunity to repeal the amendment three times in the past but have voted it down. If this measure passes in the state assembly, it will appear on the ballot in November.

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Published on Monday, December 23, 2019 in The Mercury News
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