Last year, we and our Affiliate Network worked feverishly to get the California Homeowner Bill of Rights passed and signed into law. The work was hard and the hours were long, but ultimately we prevailed. When Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the bill, he instantly gave California one of the country's strongest laws to protect homeowners from shady lending practices. It was a great victory that showcased the power of our Affiliate Network.
Our work isn't over, though.
There may be protections in place for California homeowners, but for millions, the housing crisis is still happening. This is especially true for Latino households, which account for a substantial percentage of the foreclosures in the state. Millions of Californians are caught in a sort of "perfect storm" as credit standards tighten and mortgages continue to stay out of reach. In fact, because of the foreclosure crisis, many Californians who lost their homes have been pushed into a rental market that is suffering from decades of short supply and record-setting rent increases.
It doesn't have to be this way, and we believe there is a solution to be found in the "California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013" (SB 391), a self-sustaining funding source that will help keep the state operating within its means, spur job creation, boost California business competitiveness, and build affordable homes for Californians.
Specifically, SB 391 will:
- Create 29,000 jobs annually, primarily in the beleaguered construction sector.
- Generate an estimated500 million in state investment and leverage an additional2.78 billion in federal and local funding and bank loans to build affordable homes and create jobs.
- Deploy these dollars in California communities through a successful private/public partnership model to build an estimated 10,000 homes each year.
We're not the only ones who think SB 391 should become law. The business community also recognizes the bill's potential for spurring growth, which is at the foundation of the legislation. Groups including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Orange County Business Council, and the Los Angeles Business Council have all advocated for more affordable housing choices for workers so that companies can compete for the top talent that drives California's economy.
Our collective network, which employs more than 10,000 Californians and serves 3.1 million clients, knows SB 391 holds great potential for Latinos. It will encourage Hispanic employment in good jobs, safe and affordable housing, and a path to the American dream of homeownership. Passing SB 391 is especially critical now as funds from successful state housing bonds have dried up and redevelopment has been eliminated. The availability of state dollars that supplement federal and local funds as well as private investment is the lowest it has been in years.
The bottom line: The time to act is now. Failure to do so will leave far too many Californians, especially Latinos, without an affordable place to call home and will make it more difficult for California businesses to remain competitive.
This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.