Prop 10 Will Make Our Homelessness Crisis Worse

Prop 10 will mean less affordable housing for extremely-low income individuals and families and those at risk for homelessness.

The homeless population has grown steadily over the past two decades, and this initiative will do exactly the opposite of what it promises – instead of expanding access to affordable housing to the individuals that need it most, it will result in less housing being built.

  • Independent academic experts agree policies embraced in this initiative could slow – if not eliminate – construction of new affordable housing units.
  • Affordable housing projects are already extremely difficult to build due to the limited availability of funding and requirements that the units remain affordable for as many as 55 years. Prop 10 would make it even less likely that affordable housing developers can confidently pencil out these projects.

Prop 10 fails those who need affordable housing the most.

  • It does nothing to help our most vulnerable populations because it poorly targets those who are most in need. For example, a wealthy professional making over six figures could be paying the same rent as a formerly homeless individual or family.
  • Prop 10 will reduce the amount of housing available and take more rental units off the market by encouraging conversions of existing units to for-sale condos.

Prop 10 could potentially reduce state and local funds used to combat homelessness

  • The unintended consequences of this measure will lead to economic output losses exceeding $5.7 billion, employment losses exceeding 38,000 jobs, and combined state and local revenue losses of up to $1.3 billion annually due to reduced property values and less construction-related economic activity in the state.
  • Over time, revenue losses could impact funding for the state’s Housing & Community Development Department as well as local programs resulting in a severe loss of essential mental health and supportive services.

Prop 10 could jeopardize some Section 8 tenant protections in place today and motivate landlords to leave the program completely.

  • Under current law, if a landlord ends a Section 8 contract with a tenant, the landlord must set the rent for any new tenant at the exact same rate that the previous Section 8 tenant was paying for the next three years (plus any minor increases the rent control ordinance may allow).[1]  This protects new tenants from big rent increases if a landlord decides to leave the Section 8 program.
  • Prop 10 would remove this three-year rental protection for new tenants and could create a situation in which landlords are allowed to set the new rent at market rates once a Section 8 contract is terminated.[2]
  • The Section 8 Housing Voucher program is a major source of housing assistance for people who are chronically homeless and serves as a stepping stone to help individuals and families move on to better opportunities.  This initiative could roll back some rent protections that tenants rely on today and further reduce landlord participation in the program.
  • This would also apply to Section 202 supportive housing for the elderly as well as Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities.

This poorly written measure could effectively halt development of affordable housing in California. It is a fundamentally unsound “solution” to one of our state’s greatest problems, throwing a permanent wrench in the works of new affordable housing construction. Contrary to its goals, vulnerable groups across California including the homeless will be left with even fewer housing options. In sum, Prop 10 will worsen our California housing and homeless crisis.

1 This situation is applicable under Costa-Hawkins in rent-control jurisdictions without vacancy control.
2 This situation is applicable if Costa-Hawkins is repealed and a jurisdiction adopts rent-control with vacancy decontrol.