- Erin Ivie
- Director of Communications, Office of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, Governor Newsom signed into law the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act (AB 2011), the most sweeping housing production legislation to be signed into law in several years.
AB 2011 will accelerate production of approximately 2 million units of affordable and mixed-income housing along transit-friendly commercial corridors. It will create strong labor protections that ensure all workers on these jobs earn high wages and health benefits, and help combat climate change by promoting infill development close to jobs and transit.
“Today we are taking a monumental step in our efforts to turn our housing crisis in a different direction,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland. “The Governor’s signature on AB 2011 marks a turning point for California’s housing production needs — no longer will lack of land be an issue. No longer will there be a lack of incentive for workers to join the construction workforce. And, no longer will red tape and bureaucracy prohibit us from building housing in the right locations to address our climate crisis.”
AB 2011 was co-sponsored by the California Housing Consortium and California Conference of Carpenters — a unique partnership of affordable housing providers and labor who, after years of political gridlock in the Capitol on housing issues, came together to champion the legislation. While the bill took on several rounds of amendments over the course of the year, its central premise remained the same — pairing new opportunities to build 100% affordable housing and mixed-income housing on underutilized commercial sites with requirements that developers meet a range of responsible wage and training standards, including paying prevailing wage, providing workers with health benefits, and giving graduates of state-approved apprenticeship programs first access to these jobs. The bill also includes new enforcement mechanisms to ensure these wage and benefits standards are met. It will go into effect July 1, 2023.
"As millions of Californians continue to struggle to find affordable housing, AB 2011 is the breakthrough affordable housing advocates have been fighting for,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium. “CHC was proud to co-sponsor this legislation, and with the support of housing champions in the Legislature and Governor’s Office, we recognize it for what it is: A watershed moment for housing policy in California, that sets a new precedent for opening underutilized, environmentally friendly sites to affordable housing, streamlining approvals, and building a well-paid, middle-class construction workforce in every community. Californians desperately need safe, high-quality affordable homes. AB 2011 will help us produce a lot more of them."
By the time AB 2011 landed on the Governor’s desk, it had attracted a large coalition of supporters including major labor groups like Service Employees International Union California and the California School Employees Association, environmental groups including Greenbelt Alliance and the Greenlining Institute, homeownership advocates like the California Community Builders, equity groups including AARP, the United Ways of California, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and pro-housing groups ranging from California YIMBY and the California Apartment Association to Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council.
An independent analysis conducted in August by Urban Footprint and Economic & Planning Systems concluded that AB 2011 has the capacity to produce between 300,000 to 400,000 income-restricted affordable homes across California. The study also found AB 2011 could increase net local and state tax revenues, while dramatically reducing the environmental footprint of this new housing: The analysis estimates that households on commercial corridors impacted by the bill would use 40% less water, drive 33% fewer miles, and produce up to 45% fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“AB 2011 will be a game changer in the construction of affordable and mixed use housing projects. Just as importantly, it will also provide good wages and health care for tens of thousands of housing construction workers who have been left behind in today’s economy,” said Daniel Curtin, Director of the California Conference of Carpenters. “The Carpenters are particularly proud of the new enforcement mechanism this bill brings to a very tough segment of the construction industry.”
Added Curtin, “We want to especially thank Governor Newsom for signing this bill and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and her staff for their incredible effort and hard work in passing this important bill as part of the legislative housing package. We also want to thank the California Housing Consortium, the bill’s co-sponsors, and the incredibly large, diverse and bipartisan coalition that supported AB 2011, especially the Service Employees International Union and the California State Employees Association.”
California needs millions of new affordable homes built – it’s time to get to work.”
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About Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks represents California’s 15th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, and Piedmont. You can learn more about Assemblymember Wicks at http://a14.asmdc.org.