Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Boost Workforce Housing in California

Legislation Addresses Lack of Affordable Housing for Working Families in High Cost Areas Across the Golden State

For immediate release:

OAKLAND, CA — Today, at a press conference highlighting efforts to address California’s affordable housing crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law legislation, authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), that will provide incentives to local governments to boost the supply of affordable and moderate-income “workforce” housing. Notably, Assembly Bill (AB) 787 authorizes local jurisdictions to receive credit towards their annual Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals if they convert existing housing units into deed-restricted affordable units for working families.

“Too many communities across California have become unaffordable for ordinary folks,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “This legislation will help to ensure that working people—including the nurses, teachers, firefighters, and grocery workers who’ve helped us through the pandemic—can afford to live in the communities where they work and serve. I applaud Governor Newsom for his leadership in supporting working families and thank him for signing this important bill today.”

Housing preservation helps ensure the ongoing availability of quality, affordable housing at all income levels. According to data from California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, only 15 of 539 jurisdictions in California are on pace to meet their targets for an adequate supply of moderate-income housing.

AB 787 will address this shortage by providing jurisdictions an option to claim RHNA credits in their Annual Progress Reporting for converting market-rate units and preserving them as moderate-income units. Acquiring and converting existing units is an important complement to any production strategy and offers a much faster, less expensive, and more efficient way to increase middle-income housing in communities across California.

“Close to half of California renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income in housing costs,” said Ben Metcalf, Managing Director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley and former director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. “Finding ways to convert existing multifamily properties to enable long-term rents that are affordable to low- and moderate-income households for the long-term is critical for those California families struggling to make rent at the first of the month. I'm glad to see Assembly Bill 787 signed into law today by the Governor."