April 20, 2021

Enterprise Testifies on Federal and California Legislation 

California Senator Caballero Speaking

Last week, Enterprise provided testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and the California State Legislature on affordable housing as infrastructure, acquisition-rehabilitation preservation and disaster recovery.

Building Back Better: Housing as Infrastructure

On March 31, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled the American Jobs Plan, a framework for investing nearly $2 trillion in infrastructure across the United States, with a focus on stimulating the long-term recovery of the American economy and combating climate change. According to the administration, “Unlike past major investments, the plan prioritizes addressing long-standing and persistent racial injustice.” 
   
Among the many types of infrastructure featured in the administration’s proposal is a significant investment in housing, igniting a groundswell of support from advocates and public officials who champion “housing is infrastructure.” On Wednesday, April 14, Jacqueline Waggoner, Solutions division president, elevated Enterprise’s voice in this conversation when she provided testimony at the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services. The hearing focused specifically on housing, "Building Back Better - Examining the Need for Investments in America's Housing and Financial Infrastructure.”  

Waggoner underscored the need to prioritize good jobs, climate resilience, and advancing racial equity with all investments in our housing infrastructure. Her testimony also highlighted several state and local innovations from here in California. Waggoner's testimony specifically called out Project Homekey, the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, HOPE SF and the Bay Area Preservation Pilot (BAPP) as California models that are emblematic of the type of forward-thinking infrastructure investments we need for an equitable recovery. 

California Senate Bill 490/Assembly Bill 880

Enterprise also testified in support of two important pieces of California state legislation that both successfully passed out unanimously of their first committee unanimously last week. Justine Marcus, State and Local Policy program director, testified to the Senate Housing Committee on behalf of Senate Bill 490 (Caballero), which Enterprise is co-sponsoring alongside Housing California.

SB 490 would create a new state technical assistance program to support mission-driven organizations and public sector partners to acquire currently unsubsidized rental housing, where the majority of low-income Californians live, and preserve it as permanently affordable housing. Local programs have demonstrated that acquisition and preservation is a fast and cost-effective strategy to prevent displacement and homelessness and expand the supply of affordable housing. This bill, along with an associated budget request, is the direct result of more than a year's worth of policy development and thoughtful discussion from the Stable Homes coalition and other partners. 

As Marcus shared in her testimony, “We are proud to co-sponsor SB 490, which would build on the state’s successful track record of intentional investments in technical assistance to help organizations and communities seize the opportunity of acquisition-rehabilitation, while also investing in the long-term capacity of organizations doing this work – often community-based organizations led by and serving people of color.” 

Marion McFadden, Public Policy senior vice president, spoke to the Assembly Housing Committee in support of Assembly Bill 880 (Aguiar-Curry), which would create the Affordable Disaster Housing Resolving Development and Acquisition Program. The program would fund the predevelopment expenses, acquisition, construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of property to develop or preserve affordable housing in the state’s declared disaster areas that have experienced damage and loss of homes occupied by or affecting lower-income households. Administered by Community Development Financial Institutions, this bridge capital would allow work to begin while the state awaits federal relief funds, which can often take years to become available for use. 

Speaking from decades of experience supporting communities following disasters, with 15 years spent administering federal disaster relief programs, McFadden shared with the committee, “California can’t make the federal government move more quickly, but you have the power to start rebuilding in a more timely manner. AB 880 would considerably shorten the time between disaster and recovery by enabling Community Development Financial Institutions to make short-term loans on good terms and conditions to affordable housing developers, local governments and consumers.” 

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