Press Releases

March 07, 2011

Statement: Affordable Housing Is Working for All Californians

The following statement is a response to the Legislature’s proposal to end redevelopment agencies and funding for affordable housing. Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm, is a statewide leader in the fight for affordable housing and responsible redevelopment.

In 2009, Public Counsel settled a lawsuit against the city of Lynwood over its failure to build affordable housing. As a result of that settlement, Lynwood is now moving ahead with plans to build nearly 100 units of much-needed housing. This statement is attributed to Shashi Hanuman, directing attorney of Public Counsel’s Community Development Project.

“Affordable housing works for all Californians. Through the work of redevelopment agencies, California has created homes for thousands of people who would be living on the street, or doubled or tripled up in substandard housing.

“The Controller’s report shows the need for effective oversight to make sure money is spent where it’s needed most, on building housing that all Californians can afford. California is in a crisis now, but eliminating affordable housing exacerbates the crisis for years to come. The proposal puts at risk a minimum 10,900 affordable homes and 13,000 jobs, according to a survey released today by the California Housing Partnership Corporation.

“We know that the budget includes many tough choices, but there are alternatives, like the proposal by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and supported by Assembly Member Toni Atkins, that can preserve housing dollars for California’s homeless families, veterans, seniors and victims of violence while also addressing the valid needs for more oversight and a balanced budget. This approach supports schools and other services and works to ensure a funding mechanism so that all Californians can afford to have a roof over their heads.

"In his State of the State address, Governor Brown urged the Legislature to focus on the ‘core services of government.’  Preventing homelessness by housing our residents is at the heart of government.”