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$20 billion affordable-housing measure to be on Bay Area ballots

A bond measure to raise $20 billion for new and preserved affordable homes around the Bay Area will go to voters on Nov. 5.


The Bay Area Housing Finance Authority board of directors, which includes Southern Marin Supervisor Stephanie-Moulton Peters, voted unanimously June 26 to place it on the ballots of all nine counties, including Marin.

Officials say current funding levels will allow for about 71,000 affordable homes to be built and preserved over the next 15 years, but the bond measure will more than double that to 143,000.


“Marin has an urgent need for affordable housing,” Moulton-Peters said. “As a result of the region’s housing shortage, we have high rents and home prices that force people to live far from work, increasing traffic and pollution. High housing costs put a major strain on working families, seniors and young people starting out. Too many Marin residents live in overcrowded and unsafe housing, and as a result many of our vital employees and valued community members are leaving the area.”


The authority has estimated the bond will raise property taxes by about $20 on every $100,000 of assessed home value, or about $320 on Marin’s $1.6 million median home price. The total cost, with interest, would be about $48 billion and paid off by fiscal year 2076-2077.


Special taxes require a two-thirds’ majority to pass, though the bond measure will be on the ballot with ACA 1, a constitutional amendment to lower the approval threshold to 55% for taxes dedicated to affordable-housing and public-infrastructure projects — the same as already in place for local school districts. If that passes, the housing measure will be subject to the new, lower threshold.


Officials estimate about $10.4 billion would be used to create 36,000 new homes; $3 billion would be used to preserve 14,000 units of existing affordable housing; and $6.6 billion would be used for production, preservation, home-buyer assistance and other housing uses for 22,000 new and preserved homes.


Santa Clara County would get the most, about $4.5 billion, and Napa County the least, about $364 million. Marin would get some $699.1 million.


Leelee Thomas, deputy director of the Marin Community Development Agency, said local elected officials and staff from the county and each of Marin’s 11 cities and towns will create a plan this summer for the county’s portion of funds in anticipation of the measure’s success at the polls.


The nine counties would each present and adopt final expenditure plans by February.

Reach Executive Editor Kevin Hessel at 415-435-2652.

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