• Board of Supervisors Delay Affordable Housing Decision

    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors today put off a decision on whether to support state legislation that would impose a $75 real estate recording fee to generate money for affordable housing, amid concerns by some members that the bill would unfairly burden existing homeowners.

    Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended support for the California Homes and Jobs Acts of 2013, which proponents estimate would generate about half a billion dollars in funding for affordable housing by charging $75 on all real estate transactions other than home sales.

    That money would attract more than $2.7 billion in federal and other funding for affordable housing, according to Ridley-Thomas.

    Community advocates and housing developers pressed the board to go on record in favor of the measure, saying it would prevent tens of thousands of people from falling into homelessness and citing three- to four-year waiting lists for affordable housing.

    Funding for housing has declined at the same time that rental prices have increased significantly, leaving seniors among those at risk, said William Huang, director of Pasadena’s Department of Housing.

    “More than half of (seniors) cannot afford to pay,” Huang said.

    California has the second-lowest home ownership rate in the country and those earning minimum wage need to work 120 hours a week to afford the rent on an average two-bedroom apartment, according to the text of the Senate bill.

    But some supervisors worried that the $75 fee would place an unfair burden on homeowners.

    “I would support it if it would eliminate private homes,” said Supervisor Gloria Molina, who added that she’s heard that the bill’s sponsors are unwilling to amend their proposal.

    Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, agreed, saying that even in his district, which includes many affluent Westside neighborhoods, he had seen residents forced to give up their homes because they couldn’t afford the costs associated with refinancing.

    “The several hundred dollars (in refinancing costs) makes a difference,” Yaroslavsky said. “It makes a difference to some people.”

    Ridley-Thomas asked that the vote be postponed, saying he lacked the two additional votes needed for support.

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