California SB 679

On Wednesday, June 29th, Trust South LA traveled to Sacramento to voice our support
for California Senate bill 679 and urge members of the Housing Committee to approve SB 679
for further voting.

Proposed by California Senator Sydney K. Kamlager in February 2021, SB 679 would
create a countywide affordable housing agency with the power to provide needed rental
assistance, fund tenant protection programs, undertake new affordable housing projects and keep
housing affordable in low-income neighborhoods. If passed, SB 679 would establish the Los
Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) is tasked with addressing the
ongoing affordable housing and homelessness crises. The new agency would be funded by
a citizen ballot initiative on tax and bond measures in addition to state and federal grants, bringing
vital funding and resources into Los Angeles County in order to help realize the county’s plan to
build 341,000 homes by 2029. With SB 679 and LACAHSA, affordable housing solutions can
begin to reflect the unique political environment and geographical context of LA County while
following the lead of other independent housing authorities that have already been created in the
Bay Area and New York City for example.

Trust South LA attended the state capitol as a part of the Our Future Los Angeles
(OFLA) coalition, formed to demand equitable housing policies and call for the creation of an
independent, countywide housing solutions agency. OFLA members in attendance at the SB 679
committee hearing represented a wide range of interests from nonprofit housing advocacy
organizations including Abundant Housing and LA Family Housing to environmental justice
groups like Climate Resolve. In addition to testimony from United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Vice President Tommy Newman in support of SB 679, Trust South LA’s very own executive
policy director Jessica Melendez gave a few words speaking to the necessity of an affordable
housing solutions agency to address the specific challenges of LA county residents. Jessica
Melendez was also accompanied by policy intern Rashad Douglass and South LA resident and
tenant Deshanae Cantley – both of whom also briefly voiced their strong support for the passage
of SB 679.

When all committee member’s votes were counted at the conclusion of the hearing, SB
679 had passed successfully through the Housing Committee and moved onto the rest of the
California Legislature. After a year of stalling and debating, SB 679 has scored a significant
victory for both affordable housing and housing advocacy as the bill is one step closer to
becoming law with the help of a broad coalition of social justice and community organizations
interested in securing access to affordable housing for all Angelinos. Like Trust South LA, all
organizations involved in advocating for the passage of SB 679 understand that we are not doing
enough to protect and create affordable housing for low-income and working-class communities
and that we can begin to create more innovative solutions to the affordable housing crisis with
SB 679. We are happy to have been a part of this OFLA delegation, and we look forward to
more in the future

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