Responding to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s omission of funds for affordable home construction in the proposed infrastructure bond in his State of the State address, Julie Spezia, executive director of Housing California, the primary advocate in the state Capitol on housing and budget policy for homeless and very low-income people, released this statement:
“The Governor missed an opportunity today. California needs more than 651,000 homes for low-income families and individuals — hairdressers and dry cleaners, homeless people and senior citizens. Every year, we fall another 32,000 behind. The main artery of money to help build these homes – money our citizens approved with Prop 46 – will run dry in December.
“We appreciate and recognize the Governor’s leadership on long-term infrastructure. The Governor understands that – for California to prosper – we must renew the foundation on which it stands. We believe that affordable homes are central to that foundation—and at the center of every strong community.
“Decent, affordable homes provide people a place of safety, kids a place to study, families a place to spend time and new owners a place to build equity. If homes are basic physical and social infrastructure – the building blocks of a neighborhood – the state should invest in homes like it does for other infrastructure. It has done so in the past with Prop 46. It should continue to do so now: More than 70 percent of Californians believe the state should build new affordable homes with a new bond, according to a recent poll.
“We have successfully worked with Senate President pro Tem Don Perata to include $1.4 billion to continue to build affordable homes and shelters in SB 1024, his infrastructure bond—and we thank Senator Perata for his commitment to those people who need a home. Speaker Fabian Núñez has also included funding for this purpose in his infrastructure bill, AB 1783.
“Perata and Núñez view homes like sidewalks and streetlights, one of the building blocks of a healthy neighborhood. When the Governor sits with the legislative leadership, we urge him to see homes as infrastructure—and help build homes for those who need them most.”