Controversial Bill May Be Solution to Housing Crisis in California

With a severe shortage of affordable housing in California, state lawmakers want to take control and change the rules by allowing higher density units near public transit whether cities like it or not.

Some San Francisco supervisors say they don’t want state law telling them what kind of housing is allowed but under SB50, multi-unit buildings between three and five stories tall would be allowed in neighborhoods.

The so-called "More Homes Act," which passed its first committee hearing Tuesday, is getting mixed reactions as the plan has the potential to change the city’s landscape.

"SB50 is not going to help our housing affordability crisis in SF," said Supervisor Gordon Mar, who is sponsoring the opposing plan. "It's going to make it worse and we believe it will override our local policies to increase density."

Though Mar said that six other supervisors also oppose the plan, Mayor London Breed and Laura Foote from non-profit YIMBY Action, which advocates for affordable housing, have expressed their support.

"Members are desperate for housing," Foote said. "We have people living in cars, people who have been displaced."

She said California cities have failed to build housing and now it’s time to address the crisis.

"We need state intervention to be sure people are doing their part."

If passed, the proposal would impact cities all over the Bay Area.

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