Voters in the recent midterm elections voted to address the housing affordability crisis in California, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina and Texas. Let’s take a look:
Even though voters turned down a proposition to expand rent control statewide, Californians approved several propositions to build/renovate housing programs for the homeless, build permanent units for the homeless, target mental health services, provide more shelter beds and provide prevention services for homeless people.
Voters approved Proposition I, a $4B bond initiative, for building/renovating rental housing projects, home loan assistance to veterans, and loans/grants to build housing for farmworkers. Voters also approved Proposition II which designates $2B in funds to pay for 20,000 permanent, supportive housing units targeted to homeless people with mental illness.
Proposition C, spearheaded by Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, approved a gross receipts tax between 0.175% – 0.69% on businesses earning over $1B/year and a 1/5% tax on payroll expenses on businesses with at least 1,000 employees nationwide. Prop C is essentially a tax on the top 1% of businesses, many of which received big tax savings from the 2018 Tax Cuts bill. This money is to be used ONLY for building permanently affordable homes, preventing evictions, mental health services, substance abuse and hygiene programs and for homeless shelters.
Oakland passed Measure W, a tax on vacant land or buildings used less than 50 days/year at the level of $6,000/year/parcel and $3,000/year/condominium. 85% of all monies generated from Measure W are to be used to create affordable housing and services.
Oregon voters passed Measure 102 to enable its local governments to partner with private and nonprofit entities to build more affordable housing via bond revenue.
Portland metro passed Measure 26-199, a $652.8M bond initiative to build approximately 3,900 affordable houses.
Austin voters passed its largest bond ever by passing the $250M Proposition A. $100M will be used to buy land; $94M will be used for housing for renters and homeless people; $28M will be used for housing for low-income households; and $28M will be used for home repairs.
In Charlotte, voters approved a $50M bond initiative to be directed to the city’s Housing Trust Fund for gap financing for developers building/rehabbing affordable housing units.
In Chapel Hill, voters approved a $10M bond for housing.
Voters in Broward County approved the creation of a dedicated trust fund for affordable housing.