California is home to one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, and it is no secret that many Californians are unable to afford to rent or own a home. One-third of renters in California spend more than half their income on housing; California has 22 percent of the country’s homeless population while only 12 percent of its total population; and homeownership rates are at their lowest since the 1940s.
Access to housing is a basic human need, and ensuring Californians have access to an affordable place to live is critical to every Californian’s quality of life. That’s why I have authored Senate Bill 540, which streamlines California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to spur housing construction in areas identified by cities and counties as Workforce Housing Zones.
Currently, housing construction projects are subject to individual environmental reviews even if they would be undertaken in the same underlying zone. This can result in costly project delays and serve as a disincentive to housing construction.