California Rep. Schiff is proposing a bill to convert government buildings into affordable housing

The US government is estimated to be the owner 45,000 unused buildings and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, wants to see this huge resource repurposed to combat the nation’s affordable housing crisis.

For this reason, on Tuesday morning, April 1, he introduced the law to convert state facilities into affordable housing. If passed, the bill would prepare an annual report on government properties suitable for residential reuse, and the bill would appropriate $250 million each year from fiscal year 2025 through 2030 to incentivize conversion projects.

“At a time when so many Americans continually struggle to find safe, affordable housing, the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act represents a step forward in our efforts to address the housing crisis,” Schiff said in a statement. “By repurposing government buildings that have outlived their original use, we not only use our resources efficiently, but also increase the supply of affordable housing.”

Ship, runs for them US Senate in California in November touted adaptive reuse of buildings as one of them its key strategies to address the country’s homelessness and housing affordability crisis – both of which have reached record highs.

This was the result of a recent study by Harvard University 22.4 million householdsor about half of the country’s renters, are “rent burdened” – meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on housing.

The United States has a shortage of 7 million housing units that are affordable for renters below the poverty line or for renters earning 30% or less of their area’s median income. a report found by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. California must build 2.5 million new units by 2030, 1 million of which must be affordable meet the state’s housing needsaccording to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

“We cannot stand by and allow the housing shortage to displace families and undermine the middle class. “It’s time to use a broad range of strategies to ensure every American has access to a safe, affordable place to call home,” Schiff said.

Schiff’s bill would direct the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to facilitate the conversion of properties owned by federal, state, and local governments into affordable housing rental projects.

The bill would require an annual report examining whether federally owned properties are being optimized, whether the inventory of federally owned properties should be reduced, and whether they are suitable for conversion to housing.

It would also establish a $250 million grant fund for each fiscal year 2025 through 2030 to allow states, federally recognized tribes and local governments to cover the costs of purchasing eligible buildings and converting them into affordable housing.

The bill is co-sponsored by California Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Riverside, and Rhode Island Rep. Gabe Amo, D-Pawtucket. It is supported by the California State Association of Counties, the National Association of Realtors, the National Community Development Association and People Assisting the Homeless.

California lawmakers also support adaptive reuse as a core strategy to address the state’s housing crisis.

Much of that charge has been led by Rep. Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, who represents many low-income renters in his central and southern Los Angeles district.

In 2022, Newsom signed Santiago’s bill AB 1695, which allows state funding and loans to convert existing buildings into affordable multifamily housing. That same year, Newsom signed FROM 2011 Allows construction of housing on unused commercial land currently zoned for retail, office and parking space.

While adaptive reuse sounds promising in theory, it can prove challenging in practice.

Not all buildings lend themselves well to remodeling, and adapting office or commercial buildings to California’s extensive residential and zoning regulations can be costly and time-consuming. Bills quickly add up as buildings are modified to make them livable with air conditioning, windows, plumbing, earthquake-resistant retrofits and more.

In March, Santiago introduced two new laws to address these issues by cutting red tape and creating more incentive programs.

AB 2909 would expand the Mills Act to provide a funding pool for adaptive reuse projects. AB 2910 would allow cities that comply with state housing laws to create their own zoning regulations to make it easier to approve adaptive reuse projects.

“Adaptive reuse is a critical tool for addressing California’s housing crisis and advancing our sustainability goals while breathing new life into downtowns across the state,” Santiago said in a March 12 statement. “We can do this by cutting red tape and increasing incentives through our bills AB 2909 and AB 2910.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button