SACRAMENTO – Bills by Senator Josh Becker to spur creation of affordable intergenerational housing and expand opportunities for “earn and learn” job training and employment for vulnerable jobseekers cleared their first legislative hurdles in the Assembly today.
“Thanks to my Assembly colleagues, my bills to help create affordable housing for vulnerable populations and ease the barriers to employment for jobseekers who are often shut out of the workforce can advance,” said Senator Becker, D-Peninsula.
Affordable Intergenerational Housing
The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee passed Senate Bill 591, which would eliminate the legal loophole that has impeded financing for affordable housing accommodating senior citizens and transition-age foster youth.
Studies show that intergenerational housing helps address the isolation and depression often suffered by seniors and provides an environment that supports socialization and transitioning of youth who are trying to establish their lives as adults. However, the financing mechanism most used for developing affordable housing senior housing in California – state tax credits – effectively prohibits inclusion of affordable housing units for others in the same building.
Case in point, Senator Becker said, is a project planned by Emeryville, which proposed an affordable housing development that would include 68 units for seniors and transition-age youth. For now, that project is stymied.
SB 591 would allow tax credit-financed affordable intergenerational housing building projects in which at least 80% of the units are occupied by seniors and no more than 20% are for transition-age youth.
“The scale of our housing crisis demands creative solutions,” Senator Becker said. “SB 591 offers a solution to simultaneously address the affordable housing needs of vulnerable seniors and vulnerable young people while enhancing the well-being of both and strengthening the fabric of our communities.”
‘Earn and Learn’ Opportunities for Vulnerable Jobseekers
SB 779 would help expand “earn and learn” opportunities for veterans, the unhoused, people exiting the justice system, and other vulnerable jobseekers who face barriers to joining the workforce. “Earn and learn” programs provide job training and employment during the training period.
SB 779 adds employment social enterprises, called ESEs, and worker cooperatives that provide evidence-based job and life skills training to individuals with barriers to employment to the list of programs eligible for “earn and learn” funding consideration.
“ESEs and worker co-ops are innovative, evidence-based approaches that train employees while they’re earning a paycheck, radically transforming the lives of people who are all too often miscast as being as unemployable,” Senator Becker said. “Offering skills training and employment together is one of the best ways to enable successful returns to the workforce and strengthen our economy long-term.”
While SB 779 does not mandate funding, “it recognizes the importance of ESEs and worker co-ops to our transitioning workforce and encourages Labor Workforce Development boards to partner with these entities when funding earn and learn’ programs,” Senator Becker said.
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