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US state of California to turn unused commercial areas into housing

US state of California to turn unused commercial areas into housing
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bills to 'reconcile the original sin' of 'housing and affordability'

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, US (AA) - California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills Wednesday designed to help alleviate the chronic problem of unaffordable housing in the US state.

"This is a moment on a journey to reconcile the original sin, the original sin in the state of California, and that's the issue of housing and affordability," Newsom said at a news conference.

"It has been a stubborn issue decade after decade after decade just fighting and talking about it and fighting each other in the process," he continued. "Meanwhile, folks started moving out, folks started thinking about moving out, folks got kicked out, folks ended out on the streets and sidewalks in record numbers because we couldn't get out of our own way."

The two bills -- Assembly Bill 2011 and Senate Bill 6 -- will allocate more affordable housing to be built in underused commercial areas which are usually reserved for retail, office and parking.

"This is a big moment as we begin…to take responsibility, not to give the same speech and expect the same applause, but to begin to do something about it," said Newsom.

The governor also emphasized that the bills would create thousands of well-paying jobs in the state, announcing that $1 billion in funding is already earmarked for 30 shovel-ready projects through the California Housing Accelerator program which is expected to create 2,755 new homes.

"It touches more things in more ways on more days than any other issue," Newsom added. "It is at the core of the expression of so much of the frustration many of us have about our state and our future and the fragility of the moment we're living in."

The governor said California has spent $14 billion over the past two years to subsidize affordable housing.

"At the end of the day, we’ve got no one else to blame but ourselves," he said. "It happened on our watch -- our watch -- all of this."

The two major bills were part of more than 40 other housing-related proposals to help California dig out of its housing problem.

"We all have to reconcile that," Newsom continued. "We need to all be a little bit more accountable to this crisis of affordability."

source: News Feed
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