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Gov. Newsom Announces Affordable Housing Partnership With San Diego, Other Major Cities

Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, discusses the homeless problem facing California a...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, discusses the homeless problem facing California after a meeting with the mayors of some of the state's largest cities held at the Governor's office, Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a partnership Thursday with the cities of San Diego, Chico, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco to develop affordable housing on land owned by the state.

Newsom signed an executive order shortly after taking office in January to begin the process of developing state-owned land into housing units and projects. The state's Department of General Services submitted a report Thursday detailing the state's inventory of land that could be used to partially fix the state's dearth of affordable housing.

Newsom's administration plans to release at least three requests for proposals later this year to begin development on the pre-determined parcels of land with more RFPs on the way. The first RFP is scheduled to be released to developers by the end of September.

"Housing is a basic human right, and in California, we simply don't have enough of it," Newsom said. "The cost of housing and rising rents are squeezing family budgets."

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The city of San Diego has taken several recent measures to strengthen the affordable housing market and Faulconer has made it a point of pride, calling himself the city's first "YIMBY" mayor. Last month, the City Council voted to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing developments, with city officials arguing that it will cut down on development costs, lead to lower prices and lessen the city's vehicular carbon emissions.

Faulconer has also floated the idea of eliminating building height requirements and authorizing unlimited housing density to produce more affordable housing and more housing for the city's homeless residents.

GIS officials identified several hundred state-owned properties throughout San Diego County that could eventually be redeveloped into affordable housing.

"My administration is using every tool at our disposal to combat the housing affordability crisis our families face," Newsom said. "We're working hand in hand with local leaders who are stepping up for their communities and pushing for affordability for their residents."

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