Lorena Gonzalez Announces CA Housing Plan to Stop Segregated Developments and Increase Affordable Units

Monday, February 17, 2020

Assembly Bills 2344 and 2345 Take Lessons Learned in San Diego to Statewide Level

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, Feb. 17, 2020) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and a coalition of housing advocates rallied at San Diego’s Alpha Lofts veterans housing project today to announce a plan to prevent segregation in mixed-income developments and increase affordable units in California.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s Housing for All plan includes two bills, Assembly Bills 2344 and 2345, that are based on the lessons learned from San Diego's housing affordability and availability crisis.

“Here in San Diego, in the past few years, we have learned from both our successes and failures. And it’s time those lessons are scaled to a statewide level,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “AB 2345 will boost the number of affordable units built in California by increasing the incentives to build affordable units. And as we take steps to boost inclusionary housing throughout California, AB 2344 will prevent segregation between low-income and market residents in these developments.”

AB 2344 would prevent mixed-income housing from including a 'poor door' (separate designated entrances for different tenants) and would ensure all tenants have access to all common areas and amenities.

San Diego has a cautionary tale for this—a recently proposed downtown development would have treated its low-income renters as second class citizens and prohibited access to a roof deck and pool located on the market-rate side.

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) San Diego's Executive Director Ramla Sahid stood alongside Assemblywoman Gonzalez at Monday's Housing For All announcement and highlighted how AB 2344 will protect families from discrimination.

“Our work at PANA is focused on ensuring families who have fled violence and persecution are on a path to meaningfully rebuild a sense of home in this country and achieve economic and social belonging. Unfortunately, our families enter this country with very little, if any, support and are too often taken advantage of and treated like second class citizens,” Ramla Sahid said. “This anti-segregation legislation, championed by Assemblywoman Gonzalez, will prevent abuse in communities that begin to build more inclusionary housing—a critical tool in addressing California's housing crisis.”

The second bill announced today, AB 2345, would update California’s Density Bonus law to provide the same enhancements San Diego does, statewide.

California’s Density Bonus Law has been on the books for 40 years, with a goal to boost mixed-income developments, but it has failed to draw enough interest from developers. In the first seven months of the enhanced San Diego program, developers applied for nine times as many projects per month than under the previous iteration of the bonus program.

Currently, the incentives to build affordable housing projects that are available in the City of San Diego are not available to the same extent in cities and counties around California – including communities down the 805, such as Chula Vista or National City, where affordable housing is sorely needed. Communities across California, including some here in San Diego County, can take a page from what was learned here in the City of San Diego.

First, AB 2345 will increase the maximum density bonus a developer can receive in exchange for committing a higher number of affordable units. Second, this bill will also allow developers to access more incentives like reduced parking requirements, setback relief and modified design requirements, if they commit to a higher percentage of affordable units.

With more than 40 percent of all California households considered cost-burdened—meaning households spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs—AB 2345 will provide developers the incentive to build the affordable units we urgently need in California.

For questions on the Housing for All plan or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos: samantha.gallegos@asm.ca.gov