SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – In the midst of the Bay Area’s housing crisis, a lawmaker has proposed creating a regional entity to help fund affordable housing throughout the region.

The legislation from Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), known as Assembly Bill 1487, would create the Housing Alliance for the Bay Area (HABA), a regional body that would have the ability to place affordable housing measures on the ballot.

According to Chiu’s office, $1.5 billion could be raised by the ballot measures.

“Our challenges are inextricably linked across our region, and we need to tackle them together,” Chiu said in a statement. “By creating the first regional body focused on addressing the Bay’s housing needs, we take a significant step towards a more affordable and equitable Bay Area.”

If approved, HABA would also assist local jurisdictions in the creation of affordable housing, fund tenant services and be able to acquire land for affordable housing.

Chiu’s office said HABA would not take away land use authority from local jurisdictions. The entity would also be barred from acquiring land through eminent domain.

AB1487 comes as the state legislature looks to take action on a housing crunch that has left residents across the Bay Area and California grappling with high housing costs and for many, long commutes.

The staggering statistics linked to the Bay Area’s housing crisis are numerous. A survey released last week found the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco had risen to $3,690 a month, a figure about 30 percent higher than in New York.

Meanwhile, some communities are so behind on building affordable housing, it would take decades, possibly centuries to meet current housing goals at the current pace of building.

AB1487 comes as lawmakers are expected to consider a host of measures looking address the crisis, including Senate Bill 50 by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which looks to increase housing near transit stops.

Chiu’s legislation is expected to be heard in an Assembly committee sometime in March or April.

Tim Fang is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco and a native of the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @fangtj.

Comments