Statewide Advocacy

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 Residents from Satellite Housing's Harrison Towers accompanied advocates to Sacramento.  Click here to view our facebook photo album of the day! (Photo by Kenny Wong)

Advocacy - actively supporting and arguing for or against a policy or program - is at the heart of EBHO's work.  While much of our work is focused at the local level, we know that policy and funding at the state level profoundly affects the East Bay.  That’s why we worked on trying to preserve low- and moderate-income housing funds lost with the elimination of redevelopment, and while we work for proactive legislation that will increase funding for affordable housing.

February 7, 2013

EBHO Proudly Endorses the California Homes & Jobs Act of 2013 (SB 391)!


EBHO is officially endorsing the California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013. Although the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Trust Fund Act of 2012 (SB 1220) may have fallen short of the goal line, the groundswell of support from housing advocates, business leaders and labor organizations created the momentum we need to pursue similar legislation more aggressively. This year, Housing California and the California Housing Consortium are co-sponsoring SB 391, or the California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013, modeled after SB 1220 (DeSaulnier, 2012). Please join us in endorsing this important legislation to get California building again!

Visit the California Homes and Jobs Act website to learn more about the bill and to get involved!

From our partners at Housing California:

For U.S. military veterans, former foster youth, families with children, people with disabilities, seniors on fixed incomes, and other vulnerable Californians, the housing crisis isn’t over.  In fact, millions of Californians are caught in the “perfect storm” — mortgages remain out of reach, credit standards have tightened, and the foreclosure crisis has pushed more people into a rental market already suffering from decades of short supply — leading to record-setting rent increases.  The most vulnerable, who struggled to make rent before the foreclosure crisis, face even more uncertainty in today's rental market.  They risk joining the 130,000+ Californians who are homeless on any given night. 

The California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013 will:

  • Create 29,000 jobs annually, primarily in the beleaguered construction sector.
  • Help businesses attract and retain the talent that fuels California’s economy.
  • Generate $500 million in state investment and leverage an additional $2.78 billion in federal and local funding and bank loans to build affordable homes and create jobs.
  • Deploy these dollars in California communities through a successful private/public partnership model.
  • Get California building again to create affordable home options for all Californians.

With successful state housing bond funds running dry and the complete elimination of redevelopment, the availability of state dollars that leverage federal and local funds and private investment is the lowest it has been in years. This threatens housing production and the jobs that go with it. Failure to act now will leave millions without an affordable place to call home and make it incredibly difficult for California business to remain competitive.

To learn more and to show your support, please visit the Housing California website and fill out the online endorsement form!

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Inspired by this new legislation? EBHO’s first annual local lobby day is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2013. We will coordinate in-district visits with local and statewide elected officials to discuss important housing policies and legislation. This will be an opportunity for EBHO members and affordable housing residents to build strong relationships with policy makers and share ideas. If you are interested in participating or helping plan this work, please contact Jean Cohen, EBHO’s Director of Resident and Community Organizing, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 510-499-3660.

May 31, 2012

News: SB 1220 Defeated in Full Senate Floor Vote, but wins unanimous Democratic approval - click to thank your senator!

Thursday, May 31, 2012: SB 1220, the HOMeS Act came to a full floor vote in Sacramento.  Unfortunately, SB 1220 fell 2 votes short of the 2/3 majority needed to pass, but received a strong supporting vote of 25-13 (along party lines). See the updates below from our partners.

While the HOMeS Act fell just short of passage, we're extremely proud of your advocacy that truly made a difference in getting the bill this far.   As Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California, points out:

We should all feel a sense of pride in the achievements we made during this campaign. This is the first time in several decades that a permanent source bill has made it to a floor vote. In just a few short months, our community and allies mobilized and changed perceptions and votes in the Capitol:

  • More than 20,000 postcards were sent to legislators in support of the bill.
  • More than 400 support letters were sent through the Housing California website. Hundreds more were faxed and even more sent through websites of other housing advocacy organizations throughout the state.
  • More than 100 people traveled to Sacramento and met with legislators on The HOMeS Act Lobby Day.
  • An additional 5 legislators signed-on as bill co-authors.

All of our East Bay State Senators voted in favor of SB 1220.  We thank Senator Mark DeSaulnier for his leadership on this bill, and we ask you to thank your Democratic senator for their "aye" vote.

More from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California

The Senate took up SB 1220 (DeSaulnier) on the Floor today, with a final vote outcome of 25-13.  Unfortunately, because this bill has a 2/3rds vote requirement, it needed 27 aye votes to pass.  The vote broke down completely along party lines, with all Democrats voting aye, and all Republicans voting no (with the exception of two absent Republican members).  The California Bankers Association lobbied aggressively in opposition to the bill.

Though the outcome of today's vote means that SB 1220 did not pass off the Senate Floor, it is a great victory that all of the Senate Democrats voted in support of the bill, which was not a given before the vote, especially in light of this being an election year.  Also, we are very pleased that the entire Bay Area Senate delegation voted in support of the bill.  This outcome reflects the amazing amount of work all of you put in to meet with, call, and write your representatives and urge them to support this bill.

We are very grateful to Senator Mark DeSaulnier for authoring the bill and being such a stalwart champion of affordable housing in the State Senate.  We are also appreciative of the other co-authors of SB 1220, including Senator Mark Leno.

Thanks to our partners for these updates, and thank YOU for your advocacy.  Again, click here to send a thank you email to your Senator for his or her "aye" vote.

March 14, 2012

Support SB 1220, the HOMeS Act.  Let's create affordable homes and jobs for a better California.
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Send a letter today from Housing California's toolkit or visit our action center!

For more information on the campaign, contact Campaign consultant Shawn Rowland at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

What is SB 1220?

California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), along with co-authors Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), introduced legislation on February 23 to create the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Act to create creating a permanent funding source for affordable places to live in California (download fact sheet here).
The HOMeS Act will support the development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable homes for Californians on fixed incomes and modest budgets, including emergency shelters, transitional and permanent rental housing, foreclosure mitigation, and homeownership opportunities. Funded through a $75 document recording fee on certain real estate transactions, the bill would generate an average of $400 million per year for housing affordable to hardworking families, put construction workers back on the job, and boost California's economy by creating millions of dollars in new economic activity.

What can you do?
Send letters to your Senator and Assembly Member, urging their support for the bill.  Download a template letter that you can customize and send to your Legislator, visit Housing California's toolkit page, or use EBHO's action center to send your representative a customizable email right away.
3. Get ally organizations to submit a letter of support. We need to show that all people from all fields and walks of life - health care, business, environment, labor - are in favor of funding affordable homes.  Download a letter from Housing California's toolkit page.
Thank you for your quick action on this important legislation!

January 13, 2011

State Supreme Court Issues Ruling Eliminating Redevelopment and Affordable Housing Funding

On December 29, State Supreme Court has issued a ruling abolishing California's redevelopment agencies and with them, $1 billion of funding for affordable housing.  Read the details below.

While the implications of this breaking decision are not yet clear, we will prioritize policy and advocacy in 2012 to pursue local and state funding for affordable housing, ensure that affordability and equity are part of regional planning processes, and to win community benefits in local cities and counties. EBHO will keep you informed on what this decision means for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and how you can continue to advocate for solutions to fund affordable homes.

To quote Susan Tinsky, Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation:  "We cannot just walk away and say, 'That's finally over.'  No, our work has just begun to replace this vital funding stream and we call on public officials and policy makers at all levels to join in developing and executing a plan to replace this revenue now."

Thank you for your commitment and action on this issue in 2011.  While this is a huge setback, we will keep fighting and your support will be crucial in preserving homes for the lowest-income Californians.

More from our partners at Housing California:

The California Supreme Court's ruling, issued today, effectively abolishes redevelopment agencies and with them the largest single source of funding for affordable homes and rental housing. Over the coming years the loss of this funding will result in thousands more Californians living on the streets and tens of thousands more living in overcrowded and substandard conditions.

In September, the California Legislature passed two convoluted bills in an attempt to pull money away from redevelopment agencies and try and plug the state's budget deficit. The two bills were passed in one day with virtually no time for analysis or debate. As drafted, AB 26x abolished redevelopment agencies while AB 27x allowed them to resurrect themselves if they made a payment to the state. By ruling that AB 26x was constitutional and AB 27x unconstitutional, the Court sanctioned the abolition while preventing any chance for the agencies to reform.

While the political and legal debate over the necessity of maintaining redevelopment agencies has raged for well over a year, what's been lost in the din of charges and counter charges is the fact that California's main source of funding for affordable housing comes from redevelopment agencies. California has one of the most effective and efficient methods for funding public-private partnerships to construct affordable places to live for Californians of modest means. Governor Brown has said that state government needs to focus on "essential services" and Housing California agrees. Other than food and water, there's nothing more "essential" than having a roof over one's head. California can not only meet that basic need, but at the same time create new construction jobs and invigorate local economies.

"Today was a huge blow for anyone in California that struggles to pay rent or lives in unsafe conditions," said Shamus Roller, executive director of Housing California.

"The Legislature must find a new way to address the housing needs of working families in California. We know this isn't what the Legislature intended, and families across California need them to fix it."

At a time when thousands of Californians are losing their homes to foreclosure, rents are going up in most parts of the state, making it even harder to find affordable rentals for working families.

  • 5.8 million Californians are living in poverty. (US Census 2010)
  • One in two renters in California pay in excess of 30% of their income for rent, while one in four renters pay more than 50% of their income toward rent. ("Paycheck to Paycheck 2011", Center for Housing Policy)

From the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California:

What Happened: At 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Supreme Court of California issued its ruling on the lawsuit brought against the State by the California Redevelopment Association and the California League of Cities (Case #S194861).  The Court upheld as constitutional ABX1 26, which eliminated redevelopment agencies.  Additionally, the Court severed ABX1 27, which would have allowed agencies to remain in operation if they make remittance payments to the state, from its dependent bill ABX1 26 and invalidated ABX1 27 on its own.

What the Decision Means: This decision effectively eliminates all redevelopment agencies across California, and removes any “pay to play” remittance payment option that would have allowed most RDAs to remain in operation.  Per the instructions outlined in ABX1 26, agencies must not take on any new obligations, and must wind down their existing operations, passing ongoing obligations along to designated successor agencies.

To read the detailed court opinion, click here: and click on the PDF or DOC links under the description "Cal. Redevelopment Assoc. v. Matosantos 12/29/11 SC."