By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed new laws into place that will help boost the stock of affordable housing across the state.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood, co-authored Senate Bill 4 which allows affordable housing to be built on land owned by faith institutions and nonprofit colleges.
“California desperately needs to ramp up housing production, and the governor’s action helps put us on a path to achieve that goal,” Wiener said. “The era of saying no to housing is coming to an end. We’ve been planting seeds for years to get us to a brighter housing future, and today we’re continuing strongly down that path.”
SB 4 ensures that churches, faith institutions and nonprofit colleges will be able to build affordable housing on their land without having to go through an expensive and difficult rezoning and discretionary approval process.
It re-zones the property and ensures neither the California Environmental Quality Act nor local political processes can be misused to stop affordable housing projects. The bill had previously passed the Assembly 73-1 and passed the Senate on concurrence 32-2 with bipartisan support.
“Working with the faith community to increase affordable housing in California has been a priority of mine for years,” McKinnor said. “As the principal co-author of SB 4, I am proud that Governor Newsom signed the bill into law and shares the values of multi-faith communities across the state who want to make sure that every Californian has a safe and affordable place to call home.”
The faith-based community applauds the passage of SB 4 as churches own 20% of land in the United States and with the housing crisis far from resolved, underutilized spaces such as vacant land and empty parking lots owned by churches seem like the perfect opportunity to increase the state’s housing supply.
“SB 4 is an important milestone in the great story of how churches are re-purposing land to provide shelter, housing and programming for our least, lost and left out and I am proud of my team’s work in making this happen,” said Pastor Martin Porter of Logos Faith Development, a Los Angeles based development company. “It comes with significant restrictions and hurdles that need to be analyzed against the opportunity of any given property.”
Logos Faith Development is partnering with churches across all denominations to determine if developing affordable housing on their property is suitable for them.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at email@example.com.