Proposition 46 provides good solution
An overwhelming majority of Californians believe that homelessness and the availability of affordable housing in this state have become worse in recent years. With a population boom that has no signs of slowdown and state housing costs at an all-time high, California’s housing crisis has come to epic proportions.
Surprisingly, out of the more than 360,000 Californians who are homeless on any single day, the most rapidly increasing homeless groups are battered women, seniors and families with children. Currently, there are only enough shelter beds for one out of six homeless people.
Last year, 23,000 women and children were turned away from domestic violence centers in California because of a lack of space.
Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002 on the Nov. 5 ballot, is a common-sense solution to California’s housing and shelter crisis. The measure will provide $2.1 billion for affordable low- and moderate-income housing and emergency shelter for the homeless and needy. It will assist in the construction of affordable housing and earmark funds to people who need it most.
Specifically, Prop 46 will provide the following:
— $910 million for rental housing for low-income seniors, disabled persons and families with children – creating 22,000 permanently affordable rental units.
— $495 million for home-ownership programs, including sweat-equity housing and down payment assistance for low- and moderate-income families, assisting more than 78,000 California families to purchase homes.
— $390 million for emergency shelters and permanent housing with support services for homeless seniors, battered women, mentally ill people and veterans, creating 31,000 new domestic violence and homeless shelter beds.
— $200 million for farm worker housing (rental and ownership).
— $100 million for incentives for local governments to approve housing developments.
— $5 million for local code enforcement to revitalize neighborhoods.
Prop 46 is a well-thought-out, responsible measure that takes into account fiscal accountability and will not raise taxes. This measure provides that all bond funds are subject to an independent audit by the Bureau of State Audits and will be funded out of existing state resources. With interest rates at historic lows, the timing is critical to pass Prop 46 now to significantly reduce the cost of the bond.
With the state’s struggling economic and rising unemployment rates, Prop 46 will help boost California’s economy. It will create more than a quarter-million well-paying jobs and help the state remain economically competitive by providing more housing for our work force. In addition, this measure will pump more than $13 billion in private investment and federal funds into California and create more than $40 billion in spending for home-related goods and services.
Addressing the need for affordable housing and emergency shelters, providing an economic boost at a time we need it the most, and doing it all with fiscal accountability and taxpayer protection is why Prop 46 already has a strong and diverse coalition of supporters including seniors, law enforcement, education, business, labor, veterans, local cities and counties, charitable organizations and much more. We are proud to have the support of organizations such as AARP, Statewide California Coalition for Battered Women, California Chamber of Commerce, California Professional Firefighters, California Teachers Association, League of Women Voters, Vietnam Veterans of California and several California Habitat for Humanity chapters.
The time is now to address Californians’ growing housing and emergency shelter crisis. Voting “yes” on Prop 46 will provide emergency shelter and housing relief without raising taxes; shelter for tens of thousands of women and children turned away from domestic violence centers because they are full; independent audits to ensure the funds are spent correctly and a boost to California’s struggling economy.
Please vote “yes” on Proposition 46.
Dee Mautino is a Grass Valley City Council member.
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