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  • Writer's pictureZack Deutsch-Gross

Regional Housing Bond Set to Be on the Ballot in November


Yesterday, the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA), a committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), approved putting a $20 billion bond measure on the November budget to fund affordable housing. The measure will support new developments and the preservation of existing affordable units.


Transform has advocated for this measure for several years, and we are excited to see it go before voters. Passing this measure would be a landmark achievement and a huge benefit to the Bay Area, both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and providing stable, affordable homes close to jobs and schools. 


But the hardest work is still ahead of us. Here’s what we need to do to win this essential investment in affordable housing.


The margin for victory


The success of the regional housing measure may hinge on whether another measure that will be on the ballot statewide passes. As current law stands, the housing bond needs to win a two-thirds majority to pass. This is a high bar that similar bond measures in recent years have sometimes fallen short of, despite majority support for the funding.


However, ACA-1, a statewide constitutional amendment, would lower the margin needed to pass affordable housing bonds to 55%. If voters approve ACA-1 and the regional housing measure garners at least 55% of the votes, it will pass. If ACA-1 fails, the housing bond will need a two-thirds majority. 


ACA-1 is a critical tool to speed up the funding pipeline for the affordable housing our state urgently needs. There are numerous shovel-ready projects in the Bay Area simply waiting for funding to become available. And, money from the affordable housing bond will allow us to leverage matching funds from other sources, including federal funding, bringing even more money into the Bay Area to build homes.


Affordable, infill housing is one of the most effective climate strategies. Transform has been working on these issues for decades, and the combination of a regional affordable housing bond and ACA-1 is one of the more exciting things we’ve worked on. We look forward to partnering with our allies to pass both this November.

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