Bills

Brown signs housing bills: ‘It was a big challenge and we’ve risen to it’

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of housing bills Friday morning that is expected to bring relief to the statewide housing crisis.

Housing advocates, lawmakers and business leaders joined the governor for the bill-signing ceremony at Hunters View, a housing project on the hills of Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco.

This is the biggest bill signing I’ve ever seen and it’s because it deals with something as basic as shelter,” the governor said. “It was a big challenge and we’ve risen to it this year.”

California lawmakers passed the 15 bills on the final day of the legislative session Sept. 15. Brown previously indicated he would sign all 15.

The housing package was years in the making and includes 15 bills the Legislature passed on the last day of session two weeks ago. Among them is a bill to create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing and a $4 billion housing bond that goes on a 2018 ballot for Californians to vote on.

The permanent funding created by SB2 is estimated to generate $200 million to $300 million a year through a $75 to $225 recording fee on real estate documents and some property transactions. The fee does not include home sales. Most of the funding goes to local governments to build housing, make existing housing more affordable and create permanent or temporary shelters.

The bill, authored by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, was a priority for housing advocates who said the state needed to create a permanent source of funding to begin to replace $1 billion-a-year in lost redevelopment agency money.

A Public Policy Institute of California survey released Wednesday found that less than half of adults support the fee, even though 64 percent of those polled said they favor building more housing in their cities.

Voters will decide next year whether to approve the housing bond. SB3 by state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, will ask voters to approve $4 billion in general obligation bonds to build rental housing for low-income families and to fund other existing housing programs. The bond would set aside $1 billion for the state’s veteran home-loan program, which would otherwise run out of money in 2018.

Among the other bills signed were SB35 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, which pushes reluctant cities into approving housing projects. Dozens of cities opposed the measure, arguing that it undermined local land use decisions.

SB167 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would make it harder for local governments to deny housing projects.

AB1505 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, would allow local governments to require developers to set aside a certain percentage of affordable rental units in new construction.

John Wildermuth and Melody Gutierrez are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: jwildermuth@sfchronicle.com; mgutierrez@sfchronicle.com

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