[Hpn] $2 billion housing measure readied in California

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Tue, 13 Nov 2001 14:06:55 -0800


Published Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001, in the San Jose Mercury News

$2 billion housing measure readied
Senator: Would aid state economy

Mercury News 

State Sen. John Burton said Monday he will sponsor a $2 billion state bond
proposal for affordable-housing loans and grants to stimulate the sagging
economy while helping out low-income renters and first-time home buyers.

``There is a tremendous need in the state for affordable housing and jobs,''
Burton said at a news conference in San Francisco. ``I'd like to do this
yesterday, but it won't be done yesterday. We can shoot for November.''

Burton, D-San Francisco, had earlier proposed a $900 million stimulus
package for affordable housing that passed in the state Senate but didn't
make it through the Assembly in time for March's ballot, he said.

In renewing his effort this time, he more than doubled the proposed bond
amount. He said the higher amount is part of a new resolve in Sacramento to
seek ``big bond measures that will stimulate the economy,'' including bonds
for community colleges and parks.

His proposal calls for selling $2 billion in general obligation bonds for a
range of programs such as building low-income rental units, helping
first-time homebuyers make down payments and adding emergency shelters for
the homeless.

Burton said Gov. Gray Davis has been reluctant to support housing bonds, but
his proposal has the backing of building and construction companies with
heavy influence in Sacramento.

Under the bill yet to be introduced in the state Assembly, Burton outlined
the proposed programs. They include:

*    $900 million for multifamily housing developments in which local
governments, non-profit groups and developers would get deferred-payment
loans to build, rehabilitate and preserve permanent and transitional rental
housing for lower-income families.

*    $250 million for grants to counties and non-profit organizations to
rehabilitate, renovate, expand or acquire emergency shelters for homeless
individuals and families.

*    $290 million to help first-time homebuyers make down payments or cover
closing costs on home purchases.

*    $200 million for local governments and non-profit agencies to develop
homeowner or rental opportunities for agricultural workers.

*    $200 million for the ``CalHome'' programs, which provide grants and
loans for rehabilitation and mortgage assistance for shared housing.

Contact Renee Koury at rkoury@sjmercury.com or (415) 394-6878.

 2001 The Mercury News

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