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Lawmakers from across California (and across the aisle), supported by lawmakers from across California, and a range of housing advocates, gathered at the state capitol in Sacramento in April of 2022 to support funding the production of affordable homeownership opportunities.
On the agenda was a call for more ‘equity’ in homeownership opportunities for working families. Attendees highlighted the need to develop and build more owner-occupied homes throughout our state and expressed support for the new funding needed to make it happen.
The Power of Homeownership
At Habitat Greater San Francisco, we see every day the unparalleled ability that homeownership has to support families and strengthen communities across California. But homeownership is too often out of reach — unnecessarily out of reach — because of systems and subsidies that deny families’ access to this greatest of equity-building tools. Habitat is working hard to have homeownership treated fairly and proper funding is a crucial first step.
Building Equity in California
Today’s rally took place against a backdrop of negotiations currently underway between Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers with respect to next year’s state budget. In fact, in just a few months, the Governor will publish a new draft budget which campaigners hope will include provision to boost ownership opportunities for well-qualified essential workers.
Not only does California have the second largest housing deficit in the nation it also has the second lowest rate of homeownership. The homeownership we do have is riven with systemic inequity not least thanks to a long legacy of exclusionary housing policies. In 2019, 41% of black families and 49% of Latino families owned their own homes, compared with 68% of white families and 66% of Asian families.
“It is well past time that we start insisting that affordable ownership be included in the state budget to help achieve housing justice for all”
- Debbie Arakel, Habitat for Humanity California Executive Director
A Housing Supply Crisis
The demand among well-qualified families for ownership opportunities is illustrated by one of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco’s own developments. Located in downtown Redwood City, a 20-home condominium project (shown above) received more than 700 applications from families ready to invest 500 hours in building their own homes alongside their neighbors.
Speaking on the steps of the state capitol, Assemblymember Tim Grayson said: “The funding that we are advocating for here today will support permanent housing solutions in California. It will help fix our broken housing ladder. And it will increase equity in the housing market by expanding opportunities for Californians to build equity in a home they own.
“Let’s not wait another year to invest in California’s future first time homebuyers. Let’s use this state budget to increase access to affordable homeownership and begin to turn the page on a long history of injustices that have denied too many Californians the opportunity to own a home.”
“Increasing the supply of homes for affordable homeownership is essential if we are to permanently solve our housing crisis. Together we must stop perpetuating inequity that comes from denying lower income households access to ownership.” said Habitat for Humanity California Executive Director Debbie Arakel.
For more information on this campaign, please follow Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco:
This blog post was originally posted on Medium in April 2022.