Housing Production, Preservation, and Protection Coalition

April 24, 2019

Contact: Mike Roth, 916.444.7170

POLL MEMO ATTACHED


New poll finds Bay Area voters overwhelmingly support bold, regional action
on housing emergency, just before pivotal vote on AB 1487 (Chiu)

Sacramento, CA — A new poll finds Bay Area residents are not only extremely concerned about the availability and cost of housing, but that they support a bold, regional approach to help solve it.   The survey found strong voter appetite for a ballot measure to support regional investment in affordable housing, with support for both general obligation bonds or sales tax revenue at the two-thirds threshold needed for passage.   The poll of 1,935 likely 2020 voters was conducted by EMC Research April 8-17. 


The poll was released by the Housing Production, Preservation, and Protection Coalition just before the Assembly Local Government Committee is set to consider AB 1487 (Chiu) today. Asm. Chiu’s bill would create the Housing Alliance for the Bay Area (HABA) to address the lack of affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. The HABA would have authority to place new funding measures on the ballot in the nine Bay Area counties to raise revenue that fund local strategies to produce new affordable units, preserve affordability of existing units, and assist tenants facing eviction.

"An overwhelming majority of Bay Area residents support bold, regional action to address our housing crisis," said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), author of AB 1487. "Our challenges are inextricably linked across our region, and we need to tackle them together. By creating the first regional body focused on addressing the Bay’s housing needs, we can take a significant step towards a more affordable and equitable Bay Area.”

The poll conducted by EMC research over the past week found:

  • Bay Area residents are extremely concerned about the availability and cost of housing. 82% of respondents agree they are concerned about low income and disadvantaged families being able to find an affordable place to live.  75% are worried about friends or family members being able to find an affordable place to live; And, 79% of renters are concerned about finding an affordable place to live for themselves. These figures show housing for friends, family and one's self are at the top of mind for an overwhelming number of Bay Area residents.

  • An overwhelming number of voters (79%) fear being forced to leave the Bay Area due to high housing costs. That concern is widespread throughout age groups, with older and younger voters agreeing that it is a problem. We see this play out each, and every day, parents are seeing their children and grandchildren leave our communities because of the lack of access to a safe and stable home.

  • Support for Potential Measure:  Since 2015, Bay Area voters have demonstrated their support for housing revenue measures at an outstanding pace, winning 14 of 17 elections, often achieving a two-thirds supermajority of support. Polling showed a considerable voter appetite for a dedicated housing measure, with a potential GO bond and sales tax option performing well over at or near the two-thirds threshold needed for voter approval.

AB 1487 (Chiu) advances the overall “Three P’s,” agenda, which is a three-pronged approach to produce more affordable homes, preserve existing housing, and protect tenants from unfair evictions and rent gouging.  The integrated strategy is embraced by a diverse coalition of business, housing, labor and social justice organizations from across California. This coalition believes it will take alliances across all sectors to address the several, interrelated root causes of California’s housing emergency.

 

The bill is co-sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and supported by the Bay Area Housing Advocacy Coalition, Burbank Housing Development Corporation, California Community Builders, California YIMBY, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, City of Vallejo and the Greenbelt Alliance, amongst others.

 

"From our state and nationwide perspective on California’s housing crisis, it’s clear that AB 1487 is not only the bold regional solution we need, but an approach widely supported by Bay Area voters,” said Geeta Rao, Director of Connected Communities for Enterprise’s Northern California office.  Enterprise is a non-profit organization active in all 50 states with the mission to bring together public agencies, mission-driven and nonprofit affordable housing developers and advocates, philanthropy and the financial industry to address housing challenges. “Today’s poll shows voters understand the housing crisis from their own experience and that of their friends and family, and are ready to take bold action to solve the crisis regionally.  Enterprise is proud to sponsor AB 1487 as part of a statewide, comprehensive housing production, preservation, and protection strategy,” Rao continued.

 

AB 1487 would create the first public entity focused entirely on the region’s housing needs. HABA would be able to place new funding measures on the ballot in the nine Bay Area counties, including one or more of the following: a parcel tax, fee on new commercial development, gross receipts tax, employee tax, sales tax, general obligation bonds, and revenue bonds.


Meanwhile, data shows inaction is not an option. A recent Bay Area Council Economic Institute report calling for a regional approach to addressing homelessness, noting that the region's chronically homeless population is large and afflicted with high rates of mental illness, yet resources for serving this population have actually been DECLINING. In Santa Clara County, 50 percent of chronically homeless individuals report an emotional or psychiatric health condition. In San Francisco, this figure is 63 percent, and in Alameda County it is 66 percent. The Bay Area has the second largest rate of chronic homelessness in the nation, 28 percent, behind only Los Angeles, where the rate is 30 percent. For the full report: http://bit.ly/2U9tITl

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