The importance of Proposition 46

Chico city councilmembers
We regularly hear from a variety of citizens about the housing affordability challenges facing our community.

On Nov. 5, all of us have an opportunity to help address our local and statewide affordable-housing challenges by voting Yes for Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002. By voting Yes on Proposition 46, you authorize the state to issue bonds that will raise $2.1 billion to support affordable-housing projects for seniors, veterans and families.

Proposition 46 would create additional financial resources for local governments such as the city of Chico to support much needed affordable housing. The city has a successful track record of supporting well-designed projects—including Campbell Commons, Little Chico Gardens, Hartford Place and Walker Commons—that serve both seniors and families.

Several more affordable-housing projects are in the pipeline, including a new seniors housing proposal on Park Avenue and another family housing project on city-owned land near Hank Marsh Junior High. The financial feasibility of these projects and others depends on the availability of affordable-housing funds.

According to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, Proposition 46 will finance 60,000 new homes for first-time home buyers and up to 25,000 affordable apartment units. Our local projects have been very successful in competing for existing, limited state and federal funds, so there is no reason to believe that the city cannot, at the very least, receive our per-capita share of Proposition 46 funds.

Bond financing is a legitimate mechanism to raise funds for affordable housing, even during an economic downturn. Historically low interest rates make this the best time for the state to issue bonds. Even if all the bond measures on this November’s ballot pass, California’s debt service will stay below 5 percent, a level considered by most experts and credit agencies as fiscally responsible.

We are not alone in supporting Proposition 46. A wide spectrum of prominent statewide groups have endorsed it, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Building Industry Association, AARP, the Realtors Association, the League of California Cities, California Teachers Association, California State Sheriffs Association, California State Firefighters Association and the League of Women Voters.

Addressing our affordable-housing challenges while maintaining Chico’s quality of life requires multi-faceted land use and planning strategies and innovative designs from the development industry, not simply unchecked growth without coherent planning.

Many in our community simply like to talk about affordable housing but fail to support bold actions that will address the problem. There are no simple solutions, yet Proposition 46 helps meet critical housing needs.

Please join us in voting Yes for Proposition 46 on Nov. 5, and attend a city-sponsored workshop on affordable housing on Nov. 19, where you can offer us your ideas on this issue. To learn more about Proposition 46, visit