Connect with us

Community

Bay Area Mayors, Advocates Urge Congressional Delegation to Make Historic Investments in Housing

Leaders Rally Around Long-term Solutions to Region’s Affordability Crisis

Published

on

Breno Assis/ Unsplash

A coalition of elected leaders, private, and philanthropic partners sent a letter (http://ow.ly/DBuJ50FNGsX) to the region’s federal legislators on August 10 calling on them to include historic investments in affordable housing in the upcoming budget reconciliation legislation before Congress.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf were joined by many of the region’s leading housing providers, advocates, and experts to urge California members of Congress to:

  • Ensure anyone eligible for a housing voucher can get one by making vouchers a federal entitlement.
  • Enact House Financial Services Chairman Maxine Waters’ Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021, which would provide over $600 billion in affordable, equitable housing infrastructure; and focus resources in the region using flexible models such as the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority.
  • Strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program by increasing the number of credits, which would create over 330,000 new housing units in California.

This coalition stemmed from a regional effort to build on local economic recovery task forces and to align behind key priorities to rebuild and regrow a Bay Area where everyone can thrive. It recognizes that affordable housing is a critical priority to ensure an equitable recovery. The coalition noted:

“In the Bay Area and around California, our communities face an acute shortage of affordable housing, worsened by a pandemic that has further revealed the vast inequities, especially facing Black, Brown, Asian Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities…”

“…Advancing these priorities will spur desperately needed affordable housing production and ensure all residents have access to a safe, affordable place to call home.”

A copy of the letter can be found at http://ow.ly/DBuJ50FNGsX, and the full text is included below:

 

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate,

The Honorable Alex Padilla, U.S. Senate,

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House of Representatives ,

The Honorable Anna Eshoo, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable John Garamendi, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Jared Huffman, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Ro Khanna, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Barbara Lee, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Zoe Lofgren, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Jerry McNerney, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Jackie Speier, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Eric Swalwell, U.S. House of Representatives,

The Honorable Mike Thompson, U.S. House of Representatives

 

Re: Housing Priorities for the Bay Area Region 

 

Dear Bay Area Congressional Delegation Members:

Thank you for your historic, ongoing leadership in providing critical resources to the nation – and the Bay Area – to recover from the health, economic, and housing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have come together across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to work in collaboration toward a more equitable housing recovery in our region, home to over 7.7 million people, and look to your leadership in helping us secure key housing investments, which only the federal government can meet.

Cities and counties across the region convened local economic recovery task forces early in the pandemic, identifying local priorities and actions to provide immediate relief and advance local recovery strategies. To build on the work of the regional economic recovery task forces, a coalition of public, private, and philanthropic partners came together to identify our region’s most pressing state and federal priorities to ensure an equitable recovery. Common across the Bay Area was the recognition of affordable housing as a critical priority to ensure an equitable recovery.

In the Bay Area and around California, our communities face an acute shortage of affordable housing, worsened by a pandemic that has further revealed the vast inequities, especially facing Black, Brown, Asian Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities. While there are numerous causes, millions of California families are housing insecure:

  • Tens of thousands are homeless. In 2019, 35,028 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Bay Area counties.
  • Overall, 137,500 households, including 86,600 low-income Bay Area households, are at risk of eviction and collectively owe $256 million in rent debt. If 10% of currently at-risk households became homeless, that would lead to a 44% increase in homelessness.
  • The vast majority of renters who are behind on their rent have experienced job and income losses during the pandemic: 78% have lost employment income, while 81% earn less than $75,000.
  • As of 2017, 71% of necessary permits were issued for above moderate-income units, compared with only 9% to 13% for either very low, low, or moderate-income units in the current 2015 to 2023 housing cycle.
  • Due to generations of disinvestment, Black, Latinx, Native American, Mixed/other renters are more likely to be rent-burdened, particularly among female-headed renter households. Eighty-eight percent of renters who are behind on rent are people of color. Moreover, Black residents represent 29% of people experiencing homelessness in the region but only 6% of Bay Area residents.

As a coalition of leading housing providers, advocates, and experts working in the region, we are requesting that you fight on behalf of the following federal priorities that will directly improve millions of lives in the Bay Area:

  1. Transform the Housing Choice Voucher program into a federal entitlement so that every household that qualifies for assistance can receive it. We urge you to support House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters’ visionary effort to advance this goal through the inclusion of the Ending Homelessness Act of 2021 in reconciliation legislation this year. In addition to making vouchers an entitlement, the comprehensive Ending Homelessness Act of 2021 provides protections against discrimination based on source of income and funding for supportive services, creation of permanent affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness, and technical assistance for relevant state and local authorities. Together, these actions could end widespread homelessness as we know it.
  2. Invest in affordable housing in reconciliation legislation this year by including Chairwoman Waters’ Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021, which would provide over $600 billion in housing infrastructure; and include in this flexible funding for innovative regional approaches for more equitable housing solutions. This transformational legislation would address the acute shortage of affordable housing and advance equity in the Bay Area and other parts of the country by investing in the creation and preservation of affordable and accessible housing, public housing, and community development, with set-asides for high and persistent poverty communities and measures that improve equitable planning and development processes to affirmatively advance fair housing. In addition, fully funding cross-jurisdictional solutions, such as the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA), within these programs will allow regions and metro areas across the country to elevate a commitment to racial equity, foster innovation to integrate housing solutions with regional transportation and climate strategies, and make each dollar invested in housing goes further than other piecemeal approaches would otherwise accomplish.
  3. Strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit – a crucial tool in the production of affordable housing – by enacting the bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA). Since its inception in 1986, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) has built or rehabilitated more than 3.5 million affordable housing units, making it the most successful federal policy to produce affordable rental housing. We thank you for your support of this meaningful tax credit. Today, AHCIA is needed to expand its impact in order to meet the scope of the current affordable housing crisis. AHCIA would help build more than two million new affordable housing units across the country, including 330,000 in California alone, in the next decade by increasing the amount of credits allocated to each state by 50 percent, increasing the number of affordable housing projects that can be built using private activity bonds, and making improvements to the LIHTC to better serve victims of domestic violence, formerly homeless students, Native American communities, veterans, and rural Americans.

Advancing these priorities will spur desperately needed affordable housing production and ensure all residents have access to a safe, affordable place to call home. Thank you for contacting Christa Brown with the San Francisco Foundation so we can further discuss these priorities in the near future.

 

Sincerely,

London Breed
Mayor, City of San Francisco
Sam Liccardo
Mayor, City of San Jose
Libby Schaaf
Mayor, City of Oakland
Tomiquia Moss
Founder & Chief Executive, All Home
Margaret Peterson
CEO,
Catholic Charities East Bay
Monique Berlanga
Interim Executive Director, Centro Legal de La Raza
Malcolm Yeung
Executive Director,
Chinatown Community Development Center
Don Gilmore
Executive Director,
Community Housing Development Corporation
James W. Head
President & CEO,
East Bay Community Foundation
Michael McAfee
President and CEO,
PolicyLink
Priscilla Almodovar
President and CEO,
Enterprise Community Partners
Cindy Wu
Executive Director,
LISC Bay Area
Leslye Corsiglia
Executive Director,
Silicon Valley @ Home
Guillermo Mayer
President & CEO,
Public Advocates
Fred Blackwell
CEO,
San Francisco Foundation
Nicole Taylor
President and CEO,
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Amie Fishman
Executive Director,
Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California
Gloria Bruce
Executive Director,
East Bay Housing Organization
Ellen Wu
Executive Director,
Urban Habitat
Alicia John-Baptiste
President and CEO,
SPUR
Omar Carrera
CEO,
Canal Alliance
Debra Gore-Mann
President and CEO,
The Greenlining Institute
Derecka Mehrens
Executive Director,
Working Partnerships USA

 

Community

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Two New Actions to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis

Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Biden-Harris Administration has invested over $5 billion in funding through HHS to expand access to mental health and substance use services, and school districts are estimated to use an additional $2 billion in Department of Education ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to hire more school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals in K-12 schools.

Published

on

The President’s FY23 budget proposes over $27 billion in discretionary funding and another $100 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to implement his national mental health strategy.
The President’s FY23 budget proposes over $27 billion in discretionary funding and another $100 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to implement his national mental health strategy.

Courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Education

Our nation’s young people are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis.

Even before the pandemic, rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among youth were on the rise. The pandemic exacerbated those issues, disrupting learning, relationships, and routines and increasing isolation—especially among our nation’s young people.

More than 40% of teenagers state that they struggle with persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and more than half of parents and caregivers express concern over their children’s mental well-being.

To address this crisis, President Joe Biden put forward in his first State of the Union address a comprehensive national strategy to tackle our mental health crisis, and called for a major transformation in how mental health is understood, accessed, treated, and integrated—in and out of health care settings.

On July 29, the Biden-Harris Administration announced two new actions to strengthen school-based mental health services and address the youth mental health crisis.

Awarding the first of nearly $300 million the President secured through the FY2022 bipartisan omnibus agreement to expand access to mental health services in schools.

Next week, the Department of Education will begin the process to disburse almost $300 million Congress appropriated in FY22 through both the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the FY22 Omnibus to help schools hire more mental health professionals and build a strong pipeline into the profession for the upcoming school year.

In total, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will invest $1 billion over the next five years in mental health supports in our schools, making progress towards the President’s goal to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals. This funding is allocated to two critical programs:

  • The Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) Demonstration Grant Program. In FY22, this program will provide over $140 million in competitive grants to support a strong pipeline into the mental health profession, including innovative partnerships to prepare qualified school-based mental health services providers for employment in schools.
  • School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Services Grant Program. In FY22, this program will provide over $140 million in competitive grants to states and school districts to increase the number of qualified mental health services providers delivering school-based mental health services to students in local educational agencies with demonstrated need. This will increase the number of school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals serving our students. Some schools will gain mental health staff for the first time. Others will see this critical workforce expand. By increasing the number of qualified mental health professionals in our schools, and thereby reducing the number of students each provider serves, this program will meaningfully improve access to mental health services for vulnerable students.

In the following months, the Biden Administration will deliver the following additional FY22 funding that can be used to expand access to mental health services and supports in schools:

  • Fostering Trauma-Informed Services in Schools. Young people have been especially impacted by the trauma of COVID. Over the next several weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin evaluating applications to award nearly $7 million to education activities designed to help students access evidence-based and culturally relevant trauma support services and mental health care. Applications were submitted on July 25, 2022, and award announcements will be made this fall. The grant funds will help create partnerships that link school systems with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems to provide services to students in need.
  • Expanding Mental Health Services Through Full-Service Community Schools. The Biden-Harris Administration has proposed expanding funding for community schools, which play a critical role in providing comprehensive services to students and families to improve academic outcomes and student well-being.

Earlier this month, the Department announced plans to award $68 million in funds for 40 new grantees. All grantees are required to provide integrated student services, which can include mental health services and supports.

  • Responding to Childhood Trauma Associated with Community Violence. The FY22 omnibus included $5 million for the Department of Education’s Project Prevent, a program that provides grants to help school districts increase their capacity to implement community- and school-based strategies to mitigate community violence and the impacts on students.

Experiencing or witnessing violence in the community is an adverse childhood experience linked to chronic health issues, including mental health. Project Prevent seeks to build a bridge between schools and community-based organizations to provide students with the tools to break cycles of generational violence and trauma, including through the use of mental health services and supports.

Encouraging Governors to Invest More in School-Based Mental Health Services.
In a letter sent on July 29, 2022, to governors across the country, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services highlight federal resources available to states and schools to invest in mental health services for students.

The joint letter from Secretaries Becerra and Cardona highlights actions by the Biden-Harris Administration to improve the delivery of health care in schools and make sure children enrolled in Medicaid have access to comprehensive health care services, as required by law.

The letter also previews forthcoming Medicaid guidance on how states can leverage Medicaid funding to deliver critical mental health care services to more students, including ways to make it easier to bill Medicaid for these services.

Building on Progress

These actions build upon earlier investments and announcements designed to expand access to mental health services for youth and further President Biden’s Unity Agenda. In just 18 months, President Biden has invested unprecedented resources in addressing the mental health crisis and providing young people the supports, resources, and care they need.

Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Biden-Harris Administration has invested over $5 billion in funding through HHS to expand access to mental health and substance use services, and school districts are estimated to use an additional $2 billion in Department of Education ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to hire more school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals in K-12 schools.

And the President’s FY23 budget proposes over $27 billion in discretionary funding and another $100 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to implement his national mental health strategy.

Continue Reading

Advice

The Perfect Time to Lock in Your Mortgage Rate, Keep Rising Housing Costs Under Control Is Now

Despite a challenging homebuying environment with high demand and historically low inventory, purchasing a home is still attainable – and you don’t have to go through the process alone. Getting connected early with a home lending advisor will better prepare you for the homebuying process, help you understand how much home you can afford and get you prequalified so you can shop with confidence.

Published

on

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to locking in a mortgage rate and there are many factors to consider.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to locking in a mortgage rate and there are many factors to consider.

By Christina Dello Buono

Surging mortgage rates combined with double-digit price gains are putting homeowners and potential buyers in a tough spot. First-time homebuyers, in particular, are being squeezed out of the market – due to the fact they don’t have equity or an additional boost from the sale of an existing property.

Despite those challenges, buying a home may not be as out of reach as you think.

We sat down with Denise Richardson, Community Home Lending Advisor at Chase, to discuss how to navigate the mortgage process, what resources are available, and how increasing mortgage rates can impact your family’s homebuying dreams.

Q: How do increasing mortgage rates impact prospective homebuyers?

Richardson: Mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months – from 3% in 2021 to more than 6% in 2022 – making it increasingly difficult for many Americans to purchase a home, especially those on a limited income. That difference is significant by any measure, but it could result in hundreds of dollars added to your monthly payment and thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Despite a challenging homebuying environment with high demand and historically low inventory, purchasing a home is still attainable – and you don’t have to go through the process alone. Getting connected early with a home lending advisor will better prepare you for the homebuying process, help you understand how much home you can afford and get you prequalified so you can shop with confidence.

Q: Is it a good idea for homebuyers to lock in a mortgage rate as soon as possible?

Richardson: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to locking in a mortgage rate and there are many factors to consider. This is where your home lending advisor can provide more individualized counsel specific to your situation and your market.

Given the volatility of interest rates right now, we recommend locking in rates as soon as possible so you can be certain what your payments will look like on your loan. Many lenders require you to have a purchase contract in-hand before locking in your rates, but that isn’t always the case. Chase offers a Homebuyer Advantage Program, which allows you to get conditionally approved while you shop for a home.

Q: What happens if mortgage rates drop after a homebuyer locks in their rate?

Richardson: There isn’t an exact science to timing the market, and while interest rates have risen in recent months, it’s always possible that interest rates could fall. Some lenders offer a mortgage rate lock float down, which allows you to lock in an interest rate with the option to reduce if market rates fall during the lock period. This option provides you with a little more security in a volatile market and allows you to take advantage of falling interest rates.

You may be able to move to a lower rate even without the float down option, but it may require additional fees. Additionally, your lender may have particular requirements, such as being at a certain stage of the loan process, for the customer to be eligible to lower their rate.

Q: Can a homebuyer potentially let the rate lock expire by pushing back their closing date? 

Richardson: It’s certainly possible, but it isn’t likely to be beneficial for the customer. Oftentimes, lenders will only allow you to move forward with the rate you originally lock in – or the rate on the day you relock, whichever is higher.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the ability to move quickly in this environment is critical. It’s important to do your research on lender-backed resources available to you, such as Chase’s Closing Guarantee. This guarantee commits to closing customers in as little as three weeks, or they receive $5,000. The program offers buyers peace of mind knowing that they can close on their new home without delay or receive compensation that can be put toward additional costs.

There are plenty of other resources available to help boost your homebuying knowledge – especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. The Beginner to Buyer podcast is a great resource for prospective homebuyers to get answers to all their homebuying questions. Every episode offers conversations with real buyers and expert guests about each step of the process, from mortgage rates and application to closing.

Christina Dello Buono is a vice president in the Dept. of Communications, JPMorgan Chase/Northern California. 

Content sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Continue Reading

Activism

Respect for Marriage Act Passes in U.S. House with Help from Bay Area Representatives

California District 13 Rep. Barbara Lee, who voted for the bill, also stated it was “a key step forward in House Democrats’ fight against the right-wing assault on freedom.”  Representative Eric Swalwell of District 15, which includes cities of Dublin, San Ramon, Livermore and Hayward simply tweeted, “Kevin McCarthy and the majority of @HouseGop just voted against same-sex marriage. As backwards as they are, we are not going backwards with them.”

Published

on

Tweet from U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington. Twitter photo.
Tweet from U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington. Twitter photo.

By Sarah Clemens, Oakland Post Intern

The House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on July 19, 2022. The bill, which was originally introduced in 2009, would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and recognize same-sex marriage on a federal level.

The reintroduction of this bill comes not long after Justice Clarence Thomas’ called for Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark Supreme Court ruling that declared the right for same-sex marriage in every state, to be overturned. Thomas declared Obergefell v. Hodges, along with other landmark rulings, to be “demonstrably erroneous decisions.”

While all of the House Democrats voted for the bill, it also garnered some bipartisan support, with 47 Republicans voting in the affirmative as well. Notably, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whose anti-gay marriage statements were immortalized in 2018 Best Picture nominee “Vice,” voted in favor of the bill.

Cheney also denounced her previous statements in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, stating, “freedom means freedom for everybody.” However, the Republican Party’s top two representatives, Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, voted against it.

While the House vote is a big victory for supporters of the Respect for Marriage Act, it is still not a law. Whether it will be approved by the Senate is unclear. Chuck Schumer of New York, Democrat and Senate majority leader, stated he wanted “to bring this bill to the floor, and we’re working to get the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass.” That mentioned Republican support would be a minimum of 10 affirmative Republican votes.

Democrat support remains strong, with many citing potential codifying of the bill as a counterattack in the wake of the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose congressional district lies within San Francisco, spoke about the recent ruling on the House floor and stood behind the bill, saying, “as radical Justices and right-wing politicians continue their assault on our basic rights, Democrats believe that the government has no place between you and the person you love.”

California District 13 Rep. Barbara Lee, who voted for the bill, also stated it was “a key step forward in House Democrats’ fight against the right-wing assault on freedom.”  Representative Eric Swalwell of District 15, which includes cities of Dublin, San Ramon, Livermore and Hayward simply tweeted, “Kevin McCarthy and the majority of @HouseGop just voted against same-sex marriage. As backwards as they are, we are not going backwards with them.”

While according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden has been urging the Senate to send the bill to him soon, the process has instead been delayed.

Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who became the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate in 2012, told NPR that “we don’t want to bring it to the floor until we know that we can pass the legislation.”

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, has stated that he’d “delay announcing anything on that issue until we see what the majority leader wants to put on the floor.”

As Democrats attempt to gain support from across the aisle, and Republicans make few statements on the bill publicly, the future remains unclear.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending