Universal Housing

Public housing within this State is absolutely disgraceful.  A majority of the facilities are in serious need of repair, and the wait lists average 3-5 years unable and incapable of meeting the immediate needs of #OurCalifornia in their greatest moments of need.  There’s many a reason our State government and localities have failed the People of California, there’s: settler-colonialism, land speculation, outright racist legislation which has defunded, devalued and denied Black, Brown & Indigenous communities housing through miscegenation & redlining, general mismanagement, political corruption with land, construction and development contracts that reflect it, the #FairclothAmendment, and then there’s private equity & foreclosures.

Land speculation and the very essence of it’s exploitation dates back to wealthy settler-colonists violently removing California Indians from their rightful homes, communities and sacred land for their personal profit – and always done with the full support of the illegally occupying federal government, Colony and eventually State of California’s government supporting this genocide.  We are on stolen land. 

From both the Colony and State of California’s miscegenation laws – California Indian, Black, Chinese and Mexican residents were outright denied basic housing afforded white settler-colonists pre-Civil War through the reconstruction era.  California’s housing opportunities again took an extremely racist turn for the worse with President FDR’s New Deal HOLC program which federally legislated and defunded housing in and around communities of color – specifically, Black, Brown, Indigenous & multi-ethnic/racial communities.   By color coding communities, FDR determined who would be  appropriately funded to receive federal, state and locality monies, tax revenues, loans, private lending & provided emergency lending to avert foreclosures for millions of families – it also determined who would be defunded and redlined.  This program remained federally intact for 35 years.  It was found to be unconstitutional, but remained one the most powerful tools to segregate American cities and determine who could own propertiesMost property records across the State still have racially restrictive language and exclusionary rules about who could purchase, own & rent the property – known as racial covenants.  And in spite of its unconstitutionality – many banks, land speculators & landlords still operate under and utilize illegal and unconstitutional redlining practices today in our State.

Housing is a human right which has been denied at the hands of our government and the wealthy. 

California has a long and dated history of politicians filling their coffers, personal bank accounts and investment portfolios with illegal and unethical practices surrounding land speculation, donors & ensuring government contracts with land, construction and development for housing.  Rural towns to the urban metropolis, our electeds have managed to somehow maximize expenditures with minimal public benefit to show for it.   Public housing that has long broken that trend has historically been all-white middle class communities like Compton, Long Beach, Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno, Bakersfield & smaller rural towns across the State – direct beneficiaries of redlining.  While redlining was later found unconstitutional, and thus illegal, the process is still used by banks and locality governments alike through the defunding social services and devaluing of property from Communities of Color, with the reinvestment in wealthier White Communities.

California voters passed Article 34 to the state constitution in 1950 requiring community approval before any low-income housing projects could be developed in any locality in the State.  Ever since, permission and majority approval has been required for shelter of the Poor – while exclusive cul-de-sacs, gated communities and luxury apartments can be built without community consent. 

Since about 1970 however, our State and localities have consistently mismanaged an extended and increasing affordable housing shortage.  Strong economic growth created hundreds of thousands of new jobs (which increases demand for housing) and the insufficient construction of new housing units to provide enough supply to meet the demand caused current housing to substantially increase.  California Supreme Court first observed, in Green v. Superior Court (1974) “a scarcity of adequate low cost housing in virtually every urban setting [in California]” which only worsened in the following decades.

Housing is a human right which has been denied at the hands of our government and the wealthy. 

President Clinton approved HUD legislation that determined the federal government & HUD would no longer fund the construction or operation of new public housing units with Capital or operating funds if the construction of those units would result in a net increase in the number of units the PHA owned, assisted or operated as of October 1, 1999.  This legislation became known as the #FairclothAmendment or #FairclothLimit, meaning all public housing torn down or newly constructed must be kept at a 1:1 ratio of the federal government’s willingness to address its Peoples’ population and needs… from 1999.  California has compounded our affordable housing crisis because we rely upon a federal government that refuses to move past 1999, while we the People live in the year 2021 and have seen significant population growth and wealth inequality skyrocket when compared to the 1999 thresholds. 

California Judges determined the general act of foreclosing on homes is illegal – many a judge across this country determined the same through case law by 2006.  But that didn’t stop our very own Bankruptcy King, Steve Mnuchin, OneWest, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and countless other enormous banks from foreclosing and illegally foreclosing on #OurCalifornia’s homes.  People, families, communities across our State were devastated – and with no place to turn because of an economic crisis and… Poverty.  Private equity rose out of the ashes of our misfortune and Frank Dodd deregulation finding new ways to exploit housing.  So much so, that private equity has played a major role in exacerbating our State’s affordable housing crisis, and doing so for an obscene financial gain for their shareholders – and all at the expense of California’s marginalized and most in need.  As Corporations were green lit to abuse the Poor and those in economic distress, our very own Attorney General, Kamala Harris, repeatedly failed to protect Californians.  Banks were later found federally responsible for re-redlining and denying critical relief and development opportunities afforded systemically to wealthy white communities by targeting underserved communities with surgical-like precision – specifically the Poor and Communities of Color – across the State during and after our 2008 housing crisis and market crash.

Housing is a human right which has been denied at the hands of our government and the wealthy. 

Recent incremental and neoliberal attempts to resolve our housing and homelessness crises across the State have only succeeded in filling the coffers of politicians, their donors who all just happen to be the wealthy and in construction, development, real estate speculation.  Case and point, Los Angeles County recently raised taxes with Prop HHH – to provide a $1.2 billion dollar bond measure to proactively address Los Angeles City & County needs by providing permanent 10,000 housing to our unhoused.  From a city audit 3 years later – with all the money spent there were still no permanent housing facilities built, and no projects for permanent housing facilities near completion. Prop HHH was over budget, and had reduced the projected permanent housing goal to around 5,873 housing units with the median cost of $531,373 per unit, some pricing well over $700,000.  After following the money with price tags like this, it comes as no surprise that the monies had been distributed to connected donors in consulting, financing, construction, development, and real estate speculation to provide temporary and bridge housing which the bill was not intended for.  Similar exploitative schemes have been reported in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego & a number of other localities across the State – while other localities have simply refused to spend any of their millions allocated to address their homelessness crisis like Imperial County.  Localities have been allowed to exploit the Poor, abuse the people’s trust and misuse tax expenditures because the State and our federal government have also been complicit in doing the same.  

Our government and our neoliberal State-created legislation is no different.  California Department of Housing and Community Development’s analysis of a general housing shortage of 3.5 million housing units – data has proven this to be false based on incorrect vacancy rates and double counting to exaggerated targets.  However in almost immediate response, this incorrect data was used to justify draconian bills SB35, SB838, SB330 & SB167 which have all exacerbated the State’s affordable housing & homelessness crises while directly benefiting wealthy and donors in construction, development & real estate speculation at the expense of #OurCalifornia.  Furthermore, these bills have had outcomes of “which encourage excessive market-rate housing development at the expense of affordable housing.”  A win for in the wealthy, and political donors in consulting, financing, construction, development and real estate speculation while #OurCalifornia suffers. 

The McKinsey Global Institute provided data that mirrored this incorrect claim of a general housing shortage of 3.5 million using an entirely different flawed methodology, a claim that our current Governor ran on during his election campaign and again with his “Marshall Plan.”  He promised to prioritize our affordable housing and homelessness crises, taking our taxes under the guise of creating 3.5 million permanent affordable housing facilities by 2025.  The reality of matter is affordable housing & permanent supportive housing production has declined substantially during his neoliberal governorship, when compared to prior Governors, and #OurCalifornia is currently on track to meet 2018 affordable housing needs by 2050.  It should then also come as no surprise that those who are immediately benefitting from these abject policy failures are political donors who all just happen to be wealthy and in consulting, construction, development, and real estate speculation.

Housing is a human right which has been denied at the hands of our government and the wealthy. 

Never-ending real estate speculation, the expansion of private equity, needless expansion of market-value housing, abject policy failures at the federal, state and locality levels, coupled with constantly rising rents has resulted in the severe commodification of housing and predatory markets.  

Case in point, in the Pre-COVID era of 2019.  

These are housing injustices by any and every calculation – and that is pre-COVID. 

COVID-19 has decimated our underserved communities, our marginalized communities, #OurCalifornia.  And the State’s response and protections have been as lackluster and superficial as all their previous responses.  Given banks prior violations of the law with redlining, and 2007’s  re-redlining and illegal foreclosures, we have no reason to believe banks will not try to exploit Californians again during this pandemic and subsequent economic crises.  Past and present, in our greatest times of need, our Governor and our government have failed us all, and especially failed our Poor, our underserved communities, our marginalized, #OurCalifornia.  These failures are costing us our health, our happiness, our families & friends, our communities, our tax dollars, our economies, our lives and our futures.

Our government has provided patchwork solutions that do not resolve people’s needs, nor do they provide housing or economic stability.  The Governor’s COVID-19 relief bills and executive orders merely postpone payments for individuals who can’t afford rent and mortgages.  So what happens when all the rent is due?  Emily Bender, chair of the American Bar Association’s COVID-19 Task Force Committee on Eviction, said “We are setting up millions of people for long-term harm and a horrific cycle of economic and housing instability.”  People who could barely afford paying rent each month pre-COVID, will have 12+ months worth of rent to pay without a significant income to cover these costs?! The ripple effects of millions of Californians further entrenched in poverty can crash our economy, devastate our communities, and topple the patchwork infrastructure our government has provided.

The Governor’s eviction moratorium only covers a select few evictions, ensuring protections for a small sliver of California tenants currently.  Tidal waves of evictions will be given the green light as time progresses because there is no true eviction moratorium.  Evicting millions of Californians during and immediately after a pandemic does not resolve our current housing crises – it compounds them while significantly favoring the wealthy, private equity & real estate speculation.

No more.

Investing in programs that End Poverty in California and holistically protect all of #OurCalifornia’s residents, children, communities and environment is both basic and radical – it’s also smart and effective economic policy. When #OurCalifornia’s most marginalized are protected and succeed, we all win.

Ending poverty for #OurCalifornia is not only the moral, ethical & compassionate thing to do – it is cost avoidant. In California, data has proven for decades now that providing homes for the unhoused saves taxpayers millions of dollars in publicly funded healthcare costs, ER visits and long-term hospitalizations, policing, imprisonment.  The 10th Decile Project proved all this, while also significantly improving the overall health of Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents  – the same residents who also had the highest Medicaid costs of all users in the region.  It’s a method that has worked so well and provides constant results that for-profit healthcare providers are adopting it across the country to improve care and save themselves massive money while they continue to exploit the government and general public for obscene amounts of wealth. The State of California even adopted its own version with the Whole Person Care Program – the only downfall? It remains significantly underfunded and insufficiently used.

To counteract the dominant & predatory narratives around public housing and all the places #OurCalifornia calls home… I am proud to introduce visionary solutions to decommodify housing, protect and expand the availability of quality permanent supportive housing, introduce State public housing, address real estate speculation & predatory housing abuses our legislation allows, and enable quality affordable home ownership as the radical and critically essential steps to finally ending homelessness, housing insecurity, and housing unaffordability in the State of California.

We must be bold in introducing sweeping policies to address our State’s decades-long homelessness and affordable housing crises, and finally provide the living spaces #OurCalifornia deserves. As your Governor, I intend to End Poverty in California, and this is how I believe my plans for Universal Housing will help us achieve this:

  • State of California Universal Housing Guarantee – As housing is a Human Right, my Government has the obligation to protect this right by ensuring every resident of California has the right to public housing.  This universal housing guarantee will provide a variety of decommodified housing styles based on the diversity of housing needs within our State – be it disabled, family, single occupancy, urban, rural, and natural housing options.  This will be achieved  through:
    • Immediately housing all of California’s unhoused populations by no later than 2024 with a variety of housing options to meet our unhoused’s permanent supportive housing needs including cost-avoidant and affordable options of  modular rooms, tiny homes, communes in natural settings, working therapeutic  farms, family housing, and traditional apartment complexes; 
    • Including large investments into State public housing/social housing cooperatives, which will be protected from commodification; held by community land trusts;
    • Timely construction, ethically sourced, and cost effective public housing expansion
      • Creating Statewide legislation ending pay-for-play corruption schemes within State & localities from housing development and construction at exorbitant prices for substandard & extremely delayed facilities under consequence of sanctions including nationalizing/asset forfeiture.
    • Reallocation and utilization of current empty spaces owned by State, including all State & Locality Department facilities which remain unused, underused, or mismanaged; be it thousands of empty homes which sit empty under CalTrans ownership to the City of Los Angeles’ waste of the vacant Parker Center denying public housing with costs absorbed by a nonprofit to instead transfer already new public city offices to a demolished and rebuilt newer space costing taxpayers an additional $1.5billion dollars.
    • Reallocation and utilization of spaces recently acquired from Private Equity, Real Estate Speculators & Schemes, Financial Institutions, & Housing Developers
  • Construct all future State public housing that is fully ADA-accessible and compliant and sustainable:
    • Expansion of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
      • Instead of 5%, mandate 35% of all dwelling units are fully ADA-compliant, including for hearing and visually impaired
    • Expansion of The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA)
      • All ground floor and additional units will be ADA-compliant and adaptable
    • Working with State ADA to build and expand dedicated residential and community care service solutions in close proximity of all new State public housing to meet the range of needs of #OurCalifornia’s Disabled and/or their families in this State;
  • Expanding California’s Whole Person Care Program to ensure social support services are provided to those in need (current or new to the system) as we all cope with this pandemic and economic crises in our State.  People fall out of orbit, but most are resilient and can achieve greater when given the opportunities to heal and thrive;
  • Ensure all newly constructed retail rental housing within the State of California matches the wealth population percentages – the State and locality’s constant allowance of Luxury Market Rate builds has exacerbated our affordable housing crises in the last 3 decades, decreased sustainability and led to excessive waste of public land, materials & funds to benefit the wealthy;
  • Reducing property taxes by10% for homeowners who own one (1) single home in State of California with an address property value under $650,000; 
  • Strengthen accountability, enforcement and sanctions for State violations for landlords who:
    • Exist as slumlords;
    • Utilize the tenant blacklists;
    • Rely on redlining practices to maximize their personal profits with exorbitant rents for substandard housing for the Poor and  Communities of Color;
  • Increase opportunities for #OurCalifornia to purchase and own; 
    • Develop homeownership pathways through tenant “right to purchase” legislation;
    • Close loopholes to end Corporate abuse of State Legislation for new complexes built within the State at Luxury Market Rate.  Cap new builds with Luxury Market Rate to 15% of all new housing facilities in every locality across the State;
  • Eager to work with the California Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Task Force to ensure all recommended strategies can be funded and achieved for #OurCalifornia through public policy, action & the robust social safety nets we deserve in our resilient and sustainable communities; 
  • Repeal Costa-Hawkins;
  • Repeal and/or challenge the constitutionality of Article 34 of the California State Constitution as it is discriminatory and only mandates community approval of affordable housing & State public project developments – not the tens of millions of single-family homes that have since sprouted across California.  This law punishes the Poor and remains weighted against Black, brown and Indigenous People’s denial of housing as a human right;
  • Repeal and/or challenge the constitutionality of AB1505 of the California State Constitution as its zoning mandates, land use and mandating an extremely small percentage of residential housing units are reserved for occupied by “moderate-income, lower income, very low income, or extremely low income households or by persons and families of low or moderate income.”   This bill does not address or resolve our affordable housing crisis, our homelessness crisis, or lack of public housing options, but instead legalized gentrification.  And as gentrification is already imposed upon Poor, Black, brown and Indigenous communities experiencing housing inequities – the State’s compliance in targeting Poverty,marginalized and underserved communities is unconscionable;
    • Additionally, to comply with the law, landlords can provide spaces to “moderate income individuals” and deny critically essential housing spaces to Californians with “low, lower, or extremely low incomes or their families” furthering the economic caste system in our State.  
    • Individuals most impacted by newly built housing are often those most in need.  This bill forcefully dislocates entire communities of Color under the guise of “revitalization.”
    • This bill promotes market-rate housing units which the State has an overabundance in, and immediately increases the wealth of political donors, lobbyists, consultants, construction & development firms at the expense of affordable housing, State public housing & permanent supportive housing spaces;
  • Impose a statewide ban on local developer loopholes through the Mello Act (7 CCR § 65590) and others which permit rent stabilized buildings to be converted into mixed-use buildings, hotels, and AirBnB short-term rentals which has historically favored the wealthy, Big Corporations & Private Equity while reducing the availability of rent-controlled spaces; 
    • Prosecute and enforce sanctions on any individuals or Corporations who violate this ban with outcomes including but not limited to asset seizure, damages for impacted parties & costly State fines
  • Provide my Office of the Attorney General with the resources and support to formally challenge the constitutionality of the Federal #FairclothAmendment maintaining public housing construction must be built with a 1:1 replacement of public housing that existed in 1999, ultimately denying any new public housing in spite of:
    • Constant population growth;
    • Limiting the State and local government from effectively responding to Constituent needs;
    • Growing corruption within commodified and predatory housing industries; and
    • SCOTUS Constitutionality with the precedent of Martin v Boise
  • Provide my Office of the Attorney General with the resources and support to formally investigate and prosecute the business practices of Private Equity, Real Estate Speculators, Financial Institutions and Housing Developers for violations of the law: be it Housing, Financial/Banking, Discriminatory, Corruption:
    • Placing State sanctions on Corporations found responsible for violations of the law, including inability to operate within the State of California, and the return and redistribution of said corporate-owned housing spaces back to the public
  • Deputize the California Reinvestment Coalition to work alongside my Office of the Attorney General in finally holding America’s largest financial corporations accountable for devastating California communities and California housing;
    • Challenge the Constitutionality and Real-life application of Foreclosures that have occurred in this State for decades
      • A premise with Judicial Precedent that has been agreed upon by both Federal and California State & Federal Judges, and State Supreme Courts across the country
    • Redlining, the dominance of Re-redlining in the post-Great Recession era & through analysis to ensure re-redlining has not occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crises;
    • Applying sanctions when found responsible for violations of the law will include public domain/asset forfeiture – transferring all Public and Private housing and financial corporations into State-owned spaces which will be utilized and available to every resident of #OurCalifornia.
      • Investigation & Prosecution sets the foundation to ensure housing will transition from the commodified and predatory entity it was into equitable and rightful spaces they should have always been.  
      • Investigation & Prosecution will also hold private citizens and government officials financially and socially accountable for their willful action in allowing redlining and discriminatory housing practices to continue.  We cannot move forward when significant corruption remains in our government and society.
  • Provide my Office of the Attorney General with the resources and support to formally investigations and prosecute all current housing and financial institutions which have violated the Unruh Act of 1959, Rumford Act of 1963 for State violations of redlining, re-redlining and all other discriminatory housing practices within the State;
    • Applying sanctions when found responsible for violations of the law will include public domain/asset forfeiture – transferring all Public and Private housing and financial corporations into State-owned spaces which will be utilized and available to every resident of #OurCalifornia;
    • Investigation & Prosecution sets the foundation to ensure housing will transition from the commodified and predatory entity it was into equitable and rightful spaces they should have always been;
    • Investigation & Prosecution will also hold private citizens and government officials financially and socially accountable for their willful action in allowing redlining and discriminatory housing practices to continue.  We cannot move forward when significant corruption remains in our government and society;
  • I look forward to working with Trans Justice Funding Project, Our Trans Home SF, California Coalition for Rural Housing, OpenHouse, The Village, Women Organizing Resources Knowledge + Services, People’s City Council, Coalition On Homelessness, West Valley Homes Yes, St. Mary’s Center, California Center for Cooperative Development, Services Not Sweeps, La Cooperativa Campesina, Youth Service Bureau of the Redwood Community Action Agency, Wayfinder Family Services, Brown Bag Coalition, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, The Q Foundation, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), APIENC, Street Watch LA, Grace & Mercy Lodi, AIDS Legal Referral Panel, California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Maitri, California Farmworkers Foundation,Disability Rights California, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Tenants Together, San Pedro Neighbors for Peace and Justice, Sins Invalid, Disability Justice Culture Club, Koreatown For All, Líderes Campesinas, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities in California – APIDC, Ground Game LA, SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition, We The Unhoused, Invisible People, Bend the Arc – Jewish Action, The Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights, California Reinvestment Coalition, Grassroots Policy Project, Sustainable Economies Law Center, Institute for Policy Studies & all other grassroots and impactful organizations, tenants unions, activists, advocates and pillars in the housing, design, human rights, and research communities to ensure the needs of ALL in #OurCalifornia are inclusive and sustainably met;
  • State Deputization of chosen grassroots nonprofits who are successfully providing dynamic and critical social services to #OurCalifornia to act as an extension of our government in expanding their work and services with the funding, staffing and State recognition they deserve;
    • Will participate within the State Jobs Guarantee Program;
  • In the true spirit of Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign, I will call on fellow Citizens, Socialists, Governors, and fellow Socialist Gubernatorial campaigns across this country to adopt and implement the same.