California Lawmakers Continue Push For More Affordable Housing

The author of California’s successful accessory dwelling unit legislation last year discusses this session's efforts, as well as the role of the state in determining local housing supply.

May 3, 2017, 7:00 AM PDT

By rzelen @rzelen

Hotel California

Sonny Abesamis / Flickr

After working with Governor Jerry Brown to finalize a historic road repair funding plan, the California Legislature has re-engaged policy conversations surrounding housing supply and affordability. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, representing the  50th District, authored successful legislation last session on accessory dwelling units (also called "granny flats"), and has driven these necessary conversations with his proposals to reform Costa Hawkins and streamline housing construction.

Asm. Bloom joined The Planning Report for an exclusive interview to discuss the role state mandates on housing can play, and ways to bring immediate relief to those feeling the intense burden of the housing shortage. Bloom, looking for immediate solutions that can alleviate some of the worst rent pressures, is looking at ensuring the safety of warehouse living. In response to the tragic Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland, Bloom is looking for realistic definitions of live/work housing and tenant safety by modeling legislation off of a 1982 New York City loft law that provides a different definition of habitability. 

A former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, Bloom also described the role of the state legislature when dealing with a largely local issue. As Bloom described, "local governments are reluctant to build at the scale that this crisis demands. Therefore, the state needs to take some reasonable steps to alleviate the burden." Look for Asm. Bloom to schedule a number of local hearings on his Costa Hawkins reform bill that has now become a two year bill in Sacramento.

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