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SB 477 (Wiener) Housing Data Act - SUPPORT

Dear Senator Wiener,

I write on behalf of Mountain View YIMBY to support SB 477, which will require the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to collect information from local governments about when state housing programs are used to support housing.

Mountain View YIMBY is a chapter of South Bay YIMBY. We are a group of people who live or work in the city of Mountain View and believe in increasing equitable access to the opportunities offered by this amazing city, and combating global warming through urbanization. We do so by advocating for construction of homes at all income levels, from supportive housing to market rate! We protect Mountain View’s more vulnerable residents by defending Mountain View’s rent control law and advocating for better displacement protection policies. Last but not least, we push for more transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

California has adopted several laws to help the state resolve its historic 3.5-million-home shortage, including Accessory Dwelling Unit law, Density Bonus Law, and laws to streamline the process for getting housing approved. These laws are important, but advocates, researchers, and legislators struggle to quantify exactly how effective they are. For example, a report from the Controller of LA found a very small amount of housing was built under the density bonus law, and that the program “has not lived up to its potential”. In order to improve Density Bonus Law and build more affordable housing, it is important to understand whether this is the case in other cities.

Whereas our organization’s main focus is the city of Mountain View, we believe that the housing crisis and climate change require action at a broader scale. That’s why we support SB 477, which we believe will help advance these causes throughout the state. We appreciate the Legislature’s effort in passing these bills; now we look forward to taking the next step to bring them to fruition.

By passing SB 477, the Legislature will be able to tell when and where these laws are helpful. Knowing where these laws are building housing is important to understanding if these laws are advancing or reversing racial segregation in California; an important co-benefit of eliminating our housing shortage can and should be eliminating our legacy of racial segregation. But currently, we lack statewide data on if these laws are doing that.

SB 477 will resolve this data gap by requiring more information on California’s existing Annual Progress Report, which local governments send to the state every April 1st to demonstrate their progress towards meeting their Regional Housing Needs Assessments. SB 477 helps advance our progress towards ending the housing crisis by measuring the efficacy of state laws, allowing the Legislature to make informed decisions about the future of those laws, such as how to improve them.

It is for these reasons that Mountain View YIMBY is proud to support SB 477 and thanks you for your leadership on this important issue.

Ilya Gurin
Mountain View YIMBY