As 2022 comes to a close, we are reflecting on the many accomplishments we can celebrate that will lead to more opportunities for stable, safe, and affordable housing for our residents.
The Governor and the Legislature continue to prioritize housing, with dozens of new bills signed during the calendar year. Highlights included the signing of new laws that allow for the conversion of commercial and employment lands for residential use (SB 6 and AB 2011), a historic parking bill that prohibits minimum parking requirements for new development near transit (AB 2097), and a measure that streamlines the process for post-entitlement residential building permits (AB 2234). In addition, the 2022-23 State budget included $3 billion in funding for housing programs and $3.5 billion in funding for programs for unhoused residents.
Voters also showed their support for housing. The November election resulted in significant housing victories across the State, with voters in Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Monica, and San Francisco approving new measures to fund affordable homes and respond to tenants and residents who are unhoused. A number of cities approved general taxes that, among other uses, can be used for activities relating to housing and homelessness. And voters in other cities approved measures that supported tenant rights and approvals for thousands of new homes each year.
And on the home front, in order to more effectively serve our clients, LeSar Development Consultants unveiled a new organizational structure, with a portfolio of firms that each focus on different solutions for the State’s housing affordability and homelessness crises:
LeSar Development Consultants (LDC): collaborates with leaders in creating large-scale, lasting social change through customized consulting services focused on creating physically, economically, and environmentally resilient communities
LeSar Support Services (LSS): helps clients design, plan, implement, and manage large social impact initiatives through financial intermediary, case management, community benefit organization liaison and contracting, and grants management services.
Global Policy Leadership Academy (GPLA): delivers transformative education to solve the world’s most intractable societal challenges through a deep commitment to the development of shared knowledge, best practices, collaboration and an on-going community of practice.
As the new year and new legislative sessions begin, we will be watching a number of themes at the State and Federal level and their impact on housing and homelessness. At the State level, forecasters are projecting a budget deficit of $25B, which will certainly impact budget negotiations and funding towards housing and homelessness. Meanwhile, the US is projected to hit the debt limit in late 2023, and potential political brinkmanship may exacerbate tensions as the global economy braces itself for a potential recession; the extent of this recession will certainly impact supply chains, labor, and prices in the housing industry. At the same time, funds authorized through the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be disbursed, and our Legislative and Policy team will be tracking the development of programs that could potentially support housing and homelessness work. Lastly, 2023 marks the start of campaigning for the 2024 presidential election, which could give us insights on what to expect federally for the next four years.
We know that there is so much work to do ahead. All the staff at LeSar look forward to all we will do together in 2023. Happy New Year!