The Effects of Upzoning Single Family Neighborhoods on Supply and Affordability

As the housing crisis continues to grow, there have been dozens of policy options that have been proposed as potential solutions. Zoning reform has been at the forefront of policy conversations as a potential tool to combat exclusionary zoning” -defined broadly as a set of tools used by high-income communities to preclude the development of new housing in their communities. This paper attempts to model the impacts of modestly up-zoning single-family neighborhoods to allow for 2-4 unit buildings in six Bay Area cities to evaluate the effects of this hypothetical policy on overall supply and potential impacts on housing cost.

Happy June! Happy Pride!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy June and happy Pride Month! The year is about half-way over and it’s starting to become apparent which New Year resolutions we’ve kept* and which ones need a little more work.** This month we’re excited to share updates on research we’ve produced, student leaders who are graduating,*** laws we’re working to change, and a short remembrance for a friend of CCB that recently passed.

Since it’s June we wanted to take a moment and recognize the 51st anniversary of the first Pride March, which itself was held to commemorate the previous year’s Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. As the National Center for Lesbian Rights noted back in 2020, “the 1st #Pride wasn’t a party or celebration, it was a RIOT led by Queer POC.” Stonewall (and even earlier in San Francisco at Compton’s Café), was a visceral reaction to police brutality, discrimination, and a refusal to be accept being treated as second class citizens. As the Human Rights Campaign and over 100 other civil rights organizations stated in an open letter, Stonewall was, “a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically.”

Of course, we can’t talk about Stonewall without acknowledging a leader who has begun to receive more recognition in the past decade, but is still not as well known as she should be: Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha was from, according to her, “Nowheresville,” New Jersey, and grew into a leader in the drag community and someone known for supporting LGBTQ youth in New York, particularly those struggling with homelessness. While she didn’t throw the proverbial first brick at Stonewall, she was at the vanguard throughout the uprising. After Stonewall, Marsha went on to found S.T.A.R. with her friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, who herself was a leading figure in Stonewall and subsequent activism.

CCB does our best to live by – and live up to – the example that Marsha set in her leadership. When the problems facing our communities and our country can seem so overwhelming, we try to keep Marsha’s words in mind: “History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.”

This month, in honor of Pride, and Marsha, and Sylvia, and the countless other advocates who stand up for themselves and for others when it can be not only unpopular but extremely dangerous, we hope you’ll consider donating to the Third Wave Fund. Third Wave Fund resources and supports youth-led, intersectional gender justice activism, and their grant-making advances grassroots movements that are queer, trans, intersex, and sex worker-led. We believe Third Wave’s work truly honors and supports the legacy of Marsha and others and we hope you’ll support them too.

In closing, I’d like to sneak in one last quote from Marsha because it’s really meaningful to me and to the values we do our best to uphold at CCB: “You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights.” CCB believes that none of us are free until all of us are free and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, so let’s do our best to be as brave as Marsha in standing up for everyone’s rights, everywhere, all the time.

Adam Briones

CEO, California Community Builders

ICYMI: California’s Legislature Takes On Homeownership

In case you missed the policy brief we published in May, here’s a quick refresher:

Assemblymembers Wendy Carillo and Buffy Wicks held a special committee session in February to explore and understand why California’s homeownership rates are so low, and why this is a racial justice issue. The Little Hoover Commission, California’s in-house think tank, prioritized homeownership issues in its recent set of recommendations for addressing California’s housing crisis. We’ve seen a significant uptick this year in legislation that directly — and sometimes boldly — addresses homeownership issues. To help Californians understand this legislation, we present the following analysis of 2022 bills and budget proposals.

Is 2022 really different?

“CCB Leadership Class of 2022 is out!”

Left to right: Minhal Hanif, who has graduated from UC Davis and is starting a new position at Richmond Promise, supporting low-income students’ access to higher education; Moorea Benmosche, who is a rising senior at UC Berkeley and off to Barcelona for the summer to study city planning; Hannah Phalen, who has graduated from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and is joining Coro as an incoming Fellow supporting public housing rehabilitation in Richmond, California

On a happy-but-kind-of-sad note, our amazing 2021/2022 Student Academy leaders have graduated and will be moving on to the next steps in their careers and education. The best and worst part about training and supporting young leaders is that eventually they grow into young professionals who take their training and leave to go do other interesting, impactful work (exactly as they are supposed to).

We thought a fun last assignment for them would be to interview one another about their time with CCB, what they learned, and some of the major changes they’ve seen during our semi-recent leadership change. The conversation notes come directly from Hannah, Minhal, and Moorea, and haven’t been edited by CCB staff.

See below for an excerpt or click the Learn More button to read the full interview!

What would be your advice for the next student leaders to come through CCB?

  • Moorea: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Everyone at CCB values students’ input and is always excited to hear new perspectives.
  • Hannah: I agree. Also, when starting a project you’ve never done anything like before, believe in yourself that you will get it done and you will have all the support you need to make it happen.
  • Minhal – Get familiar with it 🙂

Statewide Legislation and Projects

Left to right: Micah Weinberg, CEO, California Forward; Kate Owens, Principal, HR&A Advisors; Gene Slater, Chairman, CSG Advisors (alas, we couldn’t get a screenshot of his face – sorry!); Adam from CCB.

The California Dream shared-appreciation mortgage team had the opportunity to give an overview and outline of the proposed mortgage program that our team has designed to the Senate Subcommittee on Government and Finance last month. For more information, here is a link to watch the presentation as well as a Wall Street Journal article on the program released that day. We’re excited that the proposal has been included in the Legislative 2022-23 State Budget at $1 billion annually for 10 years (see “Summary of the Legislative Version of the 2022-23 State Budget,” page 25). Stay tuned, we look forward to sharing our final report when it becomes available later this summer!

CCB’s two sponsored bills have passed out of the Assembly and are making their way through the Senate!

  • Assemblymember Mia Bonta’s AB 2560, co-sponsored by Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, Richmond Community Foundation and CCB, will create new, much-needed sources of acquisition and construction financing for affordable homeownership. The bill will require local governments to: 1) Identify blighted properties through code enforcement, nuisance abatement, and tax delinquency; 2) Collaborate with social equity investors, banks, regional charitable foundations and infill community developers to create increased financing opportunities to develop affordable homes to be located on currently blighted property; 3) Make these homes available to first-time homebuyers whose incomes do not exceed 120% of the area median income; and 4) Determine policy and administrative changes required to achieve the above. Next step: Senate Government and Finance Committee hearing on June 29th!
  • Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 2873, the “Affordable Housing Supplier Diversity Act,” co-sponsored by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles, California YIMBY and CCB, will require the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee to collect supplier demographic data over a period of two years from developers who receive funding from the tax credit program. The information collected will then be used to set diversity and inclusion goals and will be publicly available through an annual report. Next step: Senate Appropriations Committee, hearing date TBD!

Thanks for coming out!

Thanks to everyone that came out to our first ever happy hour! The tacos, beers, and friends were all top notch (plus Ron had a nice birthday). If you didn’t make it this time that’s ok, we’ll be having another one soon!

In Memoriam

Al Pina, a longtime friend and colleague of CCB, passed away suddenly last month and we would like to take a moment to remember his life and work. Al was founder and CEO of the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Cooperative and spent the past three decades working to ensure that large banks treat their relationships with communities of color as mutually beneficial partnerships, not charity.

Al was a man who existed somewhat outside of the times and definitely outside of current standard-operating-procedure at most nonprofits. While he was the first to admit to being strong-willed and impolitic, he lived life on his own terms and never moderated his advocacy if he thought there was an opportunity to make a difference. Al will be missed by those who knew him, and we look forward to carrying on the work that he was so passionate about. If we can match even 10% of his fire, then we’ll know we’ve done a good job.

Goodbye to our favorite student leaders!

During our last Zoom together (above) CCB staff and student leaders said our goodbyes and talked about our hopes for the summer, both for CCB and in our personal lives.

CCB’s staff wishes a heartfelt goodbye to the amazing young people that we were lucky enough to work with and learn from. We look forward to seeing all of the great things they’ll accomplish in the coming years!

Sylvia Aguilar

Chief Operating Officer

This summer, I look forward to completing and sharing CCB’s new Strategic Plan!

Personally, I’m also looking forward to making more time for creativity and potentially trying my hand at painting or ceramics.

Moorea Benmosche

Public Policy Intern

This summer, I hope CCB continues to produce such informational, digestible, and entertaining newsletters throughout the summer (and beyond)!

Personally, I hope to improve my Spanish this summer while I study abroad in Spain!

Adam Briones

Chief Executive Officer

This summer, I hope that CCB can continue to bring our friends, colleagues, and community together in-person (safely and responsibly).

On the personal side, I’d like to find more new music to listen to and not just continuing to rely on what was popular when I was 25.

Ron Chavez

Director of Community Development

This summer, I hope the California Dream program is included in the governor’s finalized budget and is fully funded by the end of the year.

Personally, I hope to do more salsa dancing.

Minhal Hanif

Program Manager

This summer, I hope CCB finds brilliant new interns to continue in the very-recent interns’ legacies.

Personally, I hope this summer to have a really smooth transition from student life to adult life. AKA, I’m going to start waking up early for breakfast. Also, all three of my cats will finally meet. I hope they become really good friends.

Hannah Phalen

Senior Program Manager

This summer, I hope CCB’s upcoming in-person events kick off smoothly and I hope I get an invite!

For myself, this summer I hope to spend more time doing projects around my house and preparing for my wedding this Fall!

Our amazing 2021/2022 Student Academy Leaders wrapped their time with us May 2022 and will be moving on to the next step in their careers and education. We thought a fun last assignment for them would be to interview one another* about their time with CCB, what they learned, and some of the major changes they’ve seen during our semi-recent leadership change.

This spring, Minhal completed her undergraduate degree at UC Davis, and Hannah graduated from the Goldman School of Public Policy. Moorea will enter her 4th year at UC Berkeley and is spending her summer in Barcelona. CCB thanks them for all they have accomplished and wishes them success in their future endeavors.

Hannah: Let’s start by talking about why housing policy is important to us. 

  • Moorea: Housing crises aren’t going away; they’re only becoming more and more urgent problems that need to be solved. It’s crucial that we pay attention to these problems and come up with creative solutions to begin to mitigate further life-altering effects of past housing policy failures. 
  • Minhal: Having adequate living standards is a basic human right, but the housing crisis continues to worsen every day. So, I’m interested in housing policy/research because these issues have been overlooked for long enough and we need to act now to repair the damage done by this crisis and to ensure a future with no housing crisis. 
  • Hannah: For me, solving our housing supply shortage is one of the most complicated issues due to so many seemingly opposing interests that often halt progress. The key is finding what each different group has in common to move progressive policies forward. 

Minhal: Speaking of complicated issues, I feel like we all worked on so many different topics and projects in our time here. What would you say is the most interesting or surprising thing you learned at CCB? 

  • Minhal: I was surprised to learn the role that banks play in community building and investing in low-income communities through the Community Reinvestment Act. I was even more interested to learn about CRA reform. Considering the discriminatory history of banks, why the CRA came to be, and the ways in which it is effective or ineffective today all really informed my understanding on banks and how the CRA can be used to advocate for low income communities in various fields, extending beyond housing as well. 
  • Hannah: One of the first, and still most surprising, things that I learned at CCB was that while renters and aspiring homeowners may seem to receive more direct aid for housing, current homeowners actually receive more federal housing related expenditures in the form of the mortgage interest deduction, real estate tax deduction, and capital gains exclusions. I wish we put more subsidy into first-time homebuyers and those who really need the help rather than every homeowner, including subsidizing vacation homes. 
  • Moorea: Overall, working at CCB has shown me that everything really does take a village. Real work gets done when different communities come together with a common goal to collectively advocate for their needs. I was also surprised to find out that working on serious issues doesn’t mean you always have to be serious. CCB does a great job of balancing the need for diligent work while also prioritizing regular mental check-ins and staff bonding time. 

Moorea: Okay, I have a two-part question. How do you see your work at CCB contributing to the work you want to do in the future? And where do you see yourself in five years? 

  • Minhal: I feel like being at CCB has shown me how to use community connections and resources to be an advocate and in five years I hope to see myself continuing to be an advocate, hopefully for students in helping them pursue college and higher education. 
  • Hannah: Through my work at CCB, I’ve learned how to use a racial equity lens in solving the housing shortage and will make sure to consider how policies contribute to the racial wealth gap throughout my career. In five years, I see myself working for a government agency in California working on housing policy! 
  • Moorea: CCB has solidified my interest in housing policy beyond what my undergraduate classes are capable of teaching. The organization has shown me how policy work and advocacy get done in the context of real-world stakes and constraints. And hopefully in five years I’ll be approaching graduation from a city planning graduate program! 

Hannah: What would be your advice for the next student leader to come through CCB? 

  • Moorea: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Everyone at CCB values students’ input and is always excited to hear new perspectives. 

Minhal: What’s something you’d like people to know about CCB that they might not if they don’t work here? 

  • Moorea: CCB isn’t just an organization, it’s a family. We start every meeting with check-ins and updates on exciting life updates before diving into our work tasks. CCB is a tight-knit group with an insane amount of passion and networks that accomplishes tangible goals within the housing policy sphere without draining its employees. #greatplacetowork 
  • Hannah: We work very closely with so many other organizations and the CCB family extends much larger than our small staff! Also, every person on our team supports each other’s long-term career goals and our personal well-being. 
  • Minhal: Every person at CCB is deeply invested in not only the success of our goals of an organization, but also the success of each individual person on the team. If you need support or have questions, know that everyone here is incredibly supportive, kind and understanding. 

Moorea: I think we’re running out of time, but I have one last question. What was the biggest difference between working for the founder John and current CEO Adam? 

  • Minhal: Under John I learned to read handwriting that would be illegible to everyone else in the world and under Adam I learned that no excel sheet is ever perfect. 
  • Hannah: We could always expect to start a meeting with John with a long history about how some policy or important funding source came to be. With Adam, we would start a meeting by putting us all on the spot with silly ice breakers. 
  • Moorea: Both John and Adam bring unmatched levels of passion and heart to the work CCB does. But in terms of differences, I’d say the transition from pushed me to get out of my Google comfort zone and learn how to use Microsoft Suite programs. We love diversifying our skillsets! 

We loved working at CCB and are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet each other and the rest of the staff. CCB has brought us what we know will be life-long relationships and new perspectives about the complexities of housing policy and what can be done to achieve progress for low-income communities of color. And with that, CCB Leadership Academy Class of 2022 is out! 

*Fun fact, the conversation notes come directly from Hannah, Minhal, and Moorea, and haven’t been edited by CCB staff!

California’s Legislature Takes on Homeownership: An Analysis of 2022 Homeownership Bills

In order to shrink the widening racial wealth gap, California must turn around its dismal homeownership rates. In 2019, Black and Latino homeownership rates2 in California trailed white rates by a shockingly wide margin – 36% and 44%, respectively, compared to 63% for whites.

The overall homeownership rate — 54.5% as of 2021 — is down at the same level as it was in the 1980s. Most of the gains made during the 1980s and 1990s — when people of color entered homeownership en masse for the first time — were wiped out in the 2008 Great Recession and have never truly recovered. What recovery did happen at the end of the last decade was lost to COVID.

The one good piece of news in all this is that California’s legislators are paying attention.

At the beginning of the year, Assembly Members Wendy Carrillo and Buffy Wicks held a special committee session in February to explore and understand why California’s homeownership rates are so low, and why this is a racial justice issue. The Little Hoover Commission, California’s in-house think tank, prioritized homeownership issues in its recent set of recommendations for addressing California’s housing crisis. We’ve seen a significant uptick this year in legislation that directly — and sometimes boldly — addresses homeownership issues. To help Californians understand this legislation, we present the following analysis of 2022 bills3 and budget proposals.

Is 2022 really different?

We believe it is. Below we’ll take a closer look at 14 bills that relate to homeownership. When you include smaller-scope bills which we examine briefly, that makes 20 bills in total that we consider to have something important to say about homeownership4

This compares to very few in either the 2017-18 or 2019-20 sessions. Major housing bills, both those that passed and those that did not, were generally quiet on homeownership, and there were fewer bills overall. The 2017 Housing package, for instance, was an important milestone for zoning reform, housing accountability and affordable housing funding. While it did include funding that could be used for homeownership programs, increased homeownership was not a major focus of any of the pieces of the package5.

This year, we have a range of bills. These include major bills that would create major new statewide programs to address homeownership in new and innovative ways. There are smaller-scope tactical bills which address housing speculators or bad actors seeking to take advantage of an existing homeownership program. Other bills seek to support Community Land Trusts, an important form of homeownership that is growing in popularity across the state. Housing finance bills include specific carve-outs for homeownership, while other measures set new homeownership goals and standards for existing programs. There are study bills that look at important issues in homeownership, like mortgage lending by non-bank lenders, bills that encourage cities to turn blighted property into affordable homeownership opportunities, and bills to offer mortgage help to medical professionals who agree to work in underserved areas. There are bills to make accessory dwelling unit financing easier for homeowners, especially those with lower incomes. There is even a bill to require more fair housing training for realtors — a recognition that changing California’s homeownership rate isn’t just about raising a number, but about raising that number in a healthy, equitable and sustainable way, and not repeating the mistakes of the past. As legislation is a moving target, especially in May, we present the analysis below independent of where each bill is at in the legislative process. Some bills are already ‘dead’ or are unlikely to pass.

In addition to bills large and small, there are also a number of budget proposals from legislators, advocates, and Governor Newsom. Our analysis looks at potential dollars set aside to support homeownership, both on the supply side and the demand side.

Major Bills

One sign that 2022 is different is the number of big vision bills that connect to homeownership. SB 1457 (Hertzberg) is the largest idea and the most directly connected to homeownership6. It would create a massive $25 billion fund, $18 billion of which would support second mortgages for working Californians as a way to cover the substantial difference between housing costs and what most households can afford, especially when it comes to down payment7. The remainder would support infrastructure development for new, for-sale housing, as a means of increasing the supply of for-sale homes.

Two other major bills address homeownership and are most notable for including homeownership in policy arenas where it would not have been found in the past. AB 2053 (Lee) would create a California Housing Authority to build mixed-income, cross-subsidized ‘social housing’ in California, with the state taking on a newer and bigger role in the development of housing. Unlike most public housing programs historically, AB 2053 has explicit provisions for limited-equity homeownership8 as part of the Bill. AB 2011 (Wicks) is the latest zoning reform/ streamlining bill, focused on commercial, office and industrial lands. As part of the affordability requirements needed to trigger the ‘by-right’ development – where developers are not subject to discretionary local project review if they meet certain criteria – developers can build owner-occupied units – with either 30% of the units affordable to moderate income households (80-120% of the area median income) or 15% affordable to lower income households (50-80% of AMI).

SB 1457: California Family Home Construction and Homeownership Bond Act of 2022

  • Authors: Hertzberg, Caballero, Portantino
  • Homeownership role: Creates $25 billion bond for November 2022 ballot, including $7 billion for infrastructure and $18 billion for second mortgage down payments. 

AB 2053: The Social Housing Act 

  • Authors: Lee, Carrillo, Kalra
  • Sponsors: East Bay for Everyone, San Jose State University Human Rights Institute, State Building and Construction Trades Council – AFL-CIO, YIMBY Action 
  • Homeownership role: Creates a limited-equity homeownership option for residents of buildings constructed by the proposed California Housing Authority.

AB 2011: Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022.

  • Authors: Wicks, Bloom, Grayson, Quirk-Silva, Villapudua
  • Sponsors: CA Conference of Carpenters, California Housing Consortium
  • Homeownership role: Establishes new by-right zoning in commercial areas with explicit role for Below Market Rate (BMR) homeownership9.

Housing Finance

Housing finance is always a key area for housing, and this session features multiple approaches which include homeownership. AB 2560 (Bonta)13 creates a new financing model for local jurisdictions to turn blighted properties into homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households. SB 490 (Caballero), SB 625 (Limon) and AB 561 (Ting) increase financing programs in different government agencies, the latter focused on ADUs specifically. 
SB 1105 (Hueso) and SB 679 (Kamlager) are part of a wave of regional housing finance agency proposals coming in the wake of the successful AB 1487 (2019), which created the Bay Area Housing Finance Agency. The San Diego plan (SB 1105) is the most aggressive when it comes to homeownership, requiring 10-35% of the funds to be used for homeownership – more ambitious than the Bay Area plan, which capped homeownership at 10% of annual funds.  The Los Angeles plan (SB 679) allows homeownership but does not require it.

AB 2560: Housing: blighted and tax defaulted property

  • Author: Bonta
  • Sponsors: California Community Builders, Richmond Community Foundation, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Homeownership role: Creates new financing models to rehab blighted vacant property into low- and moderate-income homeownership opportunities.

SB 490: Housing acquisition and rehabilitation: technical assistance

  • Author: Caballero
  • Sponsors: Enterprise Community Partners, Housing California
  • Homeownership role: Creates a Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Program at the Housing and Community Development Department for nonprofits and governments, and includes homeownership nonprofits like CLTs and limited-equity co-ops as both subjects and providers of technical assistance.

SB 1105: San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency

  • Author: Hueso
  • Homeownership role: Creates San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency, with a minimum mandate for homeownership financing.

SB 679: Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Finance Agency

  • Author: Kamlager
  • Sponsors: United Way of Greater Los Angeles 
  • Homeownership role: Establishes the Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA). Homeownership programs are a permitted use.

SB 625: Community development financial institutions: grant program

  • Authors: Caballero, Limon
  • Sponsors: California Coalition for Community Investment
  • Homeownership role: Creates the California Investment and Innovation Program in the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) for Community Development Finance Institutions. Homeownership assistance is an eligible use.

AB 561: Help Homeowners Add New Housing Program: accessory dwelling unit financing

  • Authors: Ting, Bloom
  • Sponsors: Bay Area Council
  • Homeownership role: Requires Treasurer’s office to provide a report to the legislature on how to help homeowners qualify for ADU / JADU loans14.


Two key bills work to reform some aspect of the foreclosure process. AB 1837 (Bonta) is a clean-up bill focused on funding for foreclosure prevention that was designed to be used by community land trusts, but which has been abused by fake nonprofits10. AB 2170 (Grayson) restricts bulk-sales of foreclosures and offers a brief window for tenant and nonprofit purchase in cases where large institutions foreclose on more than 175 properties in a given year.

AB 1837: Residential real property: foreclosure

  • Author: Bonta
  • Sponsors: California Community Land Trust Network 
  • Homeownership role: Clean-up bill for SB 1079 funding process (AB 140, AB 175) which was designed to be used by Community Land Trusts to purchase foreclosed homes with existing low-income homeowners. It has used by shady characters and fake nonprofits to purchase homes. Will ensure that Community Land Trusts will be able to use these funds to prevent displacement of existing owners.

AB 2170: Residential real property: foreclosure sales

  • Author: Grayson
  • Sponsors: California Association of Realtors
  • Homeownership role: Restricts bulk sales of foreclosed properties and offers a tenant or nonprofit owner purchasing window for properties owned by major institutions who foreclose on 175 properties in a given year.

Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts are increasingly popular as a way of creating long-term, secure homeownership opportunities, especially — but not exclusively — for lower-income borrowers. In addition to AB 1837 (Bonta) discussed above, AB 2021 (Wicks) makes it possible for CLTs to be included in programs which enable nonprofit housing organizations to purchase and be informed about tax-defaulted properties. AB 1206 (Bennett), a bill from 2021, extends the Welfare Tax Exemption11 to community land trusts, and allows them to keep the exemption even when occupants’ income goes up to 140% of AMI. Both of these bills elevate CLTs to a similar status in state law as other nonprofit housing developers who build deed-restricted rental housing12. AB 2710 (Kalra) would create a mandatory right of first offer for tenants whose buildings are put up for sale. Tenants can assign that right to nonprofits, particularly CLTs.

AB 2021: Property tax sales: access to tax-defaulted property information.

  • Author: Wicks
  • Homeownership role: Helps CLTs in the tax-defaulted property process.

AB 1206: Property taxation: affordable housing: welfare exemption

  • Author: Bennett
  • Sponsors: California CLT Network
  • Homeownership role: Extends welfare tax exemption to community land trusts, allows them to keep the exemption even when occupants’ income goes up to 140% of AMI.

AB 2710: Residential real property: sale of rental properties: right of first offer

  • Author: Kalra
  • Sponsors: Housing California, Public Advocates
  • Homeownership role: Creates a right of first offer requirement for the majority of rental buildings. Tenants can assign this right to a nonprofit, including CLTs, to negotiate on their behalf. Buildings purchased through this program would be deed-restricted and must be offered by the nonprofits to tenants within 18 months.

Other Bills

These smaller-scope bills from the session are worth noting briefly: 

  • SB 1176 (Limon) would initiate a study to analyze creating a statewide Community Reinvestment Act for California, which would, among other things, enable the state to fill gaps in federal regulation of non-bank mortgage lending15
  • AB 2013 (Quirk-Silva) would add a goal of increasing homeownership by people of color by 20% to the State Housing Plan.
  • AB 2166 (Mayes) would require 30% of federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds be used for homeownership.
  • AB 2123 (Villapudua) would provide five-year housing grants for mortgages for health care workers in underserved areas.
  • AB 919 (Grayson) would change the construction defect laws to make it easier to build condominiums16.

Budget Proposals

The budget process is another way in which state housing policy impacts homeownership. 

In April, a group of 39 legislators, supported by a coalition of housing organizations17, have asked the governor to include $600 million for homeownership in the May revision of the budget. This would include $400 million for programs to build deed-restricted, below market rate homes, and $200 million for the state’s down payment assistance program. This would be a roughly tenfold increase in funding compared to the January budget proposed by the governor.

The Senate released its budget priorities late April through a document titled “Putting California’s Wealth to Work for a More Equitable Economy.” The Senate document asks the governor to include $2.7 billion for specific affordable housing and homeownership programs. Of this amount, $550 million would be set aside for the CalHome and Downpayment Assistance programs and a $1 billion for a California Dream For All program18, a new revolving fund for first time homebuyers to partner with the state and purchase homes with low downpayment using shared appreciation mortgages.

The Governor released his proposed budget revision on May 13th. Out of $18.5 billion for housing and homeless funding, about $3.7 billion is set aside to support homeownership, primary in the form of single family home mortgage lending ($2 billion) and a Homeowner Assistance Fund made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act ($1 billion).

Building on 2022

It’s hard to pass good housing bills in California, and CCB appreciates the work that all legislators are doing to try and address homeownership. Whether or not any of the above bills pass — both the big dreams and the smaller fixes — it will be critical to maintain the momentum from this session.

Even if bills do pass, and we have new programs and new resources to make a dent in who owns California, turning around this ship and building sustainable and equitable homeownership for communities of color in California will require significant effort over the long term. Creation of a homeownership master plan had originally been proposed by Assemblymember Quirk-Silva, and there is significant room for additional big vision work. Key issues like condo defect legislation remain stubbornly hard to change. It’s very hard to build condos in California right now, creating barriers to homeownership for younger buyers, and those with smaller families or lower incomes.

California Community Builders is committed to addressing California’s racial wealth gap, and to rebuilding homeownership across the state. Stay tuned for future briefs and reports on the need for a Community Reinvestment Act for California, on barriers to multi-family homeownership, and much more.

This policy brief was prepared by Schafran Strategies on behalf of, and in collaboration with, California Community Builders. We welcome feedback on our publications and invite readers to reach out to Adam Briones ( to share your perspective.

Note: This analysis focuses on all bills introduced in the California State Legislature during the 2021-22 session which include substantial focus on homeownership or a policy area connected to homeownership. California Community Builders has taken positions on some of these bills, and we indicate that support via a footnote as appropriate.

2 Data on Asian homeownership typically combines all Asian nationalities into one misleading lump, obscuring major differences between Asian communities in homeownership as well as wealth and income.

3 This document is intended to outline and summarize current homeownership efforts in the California Legislature and is not meant to be a guide to legislation CCB supports or opposes.

4 We analyze all bills that would have a meaningful impact on some aspect of homeownership, regardless of current status. Bills which reference California’s low homeownership rate in the preamble, and then do nothing specific to change that number, are not included.

5 The 2017 package’s SB2 and SB3 did have important funding mechanisms. Some of the zoning reform bills, like AB 73, could potentially help new multi-family homeownership opportunities, but AB 73 has largely not been used. We will explore these possibilities in a forthcoming report on multifamily homeownership.

6 CCB was selected by the State Treasurer’s Office, as a part of a larger team, to research and design a potential shared appreciation mortgage program. The report we deliver may inform future iterations of SB 1457, with specifics to be decided in the future by the author’s office.

7 The program would essentially lend buyers a significant portion of the down payment.

8 Limited-equity homeownership, shared-equity homeownership, and Below Market Rate (BMR) homeownership are different names which generally refer to an overlapping suite of different housing tenures in which ownership operates in collaboration with a non-profit organization, and where sale prices are limited to maintain long-term affordability. Limited-equity cooperatives are one common form, where owners own a share in the housing cooperative which owns the building. Community Land Trusts and Habitat for Humanity houses are other common forms of this type of homeownership.

9 See note 8.

10 CCB has signed on in support of this bill.

11 The Welfare Tax Exemption is a property tax exemption for certain types of landowners, generally charities and religious institutions. It has traditionally been applied in California to non-profit landlords of deed-restricted buildings whose tenants earn less than 80% of Area Median Income, but has not extended to CLTs.

12 Deed restrictions are legally binding obligations that are attached to property and impact what current and future owners can do with the property. Income restrictions are a common form of deed restriction for affordable housing, as it obligates the property to be owned or rented by someone at a set income level.

13 CCB is a co-sponsor of this bill.

14 JADU, or junior ADUs, are accessory dwelling units build into the original building, as opposed to stand alone structures. A basement or attached garage conversion are common types of JADUs.

15 This will be the subject of an upcoming policy brief.

16 Construction defect rules determine the legal liability of builders for construction defects. This particularly impacts for-sale housing, as builders can be sued by new owners.

17 Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Senator Anna Caballero are leading the legislative request on behalf of their respective houses. The organizations officially supporting this request include Habitat for Humanity, which is leading the effort, the California Building Industry Association, the California Association of Realtors, CA YIMBY, Mighty Buildings, Casita Coalition, Greenbelt Alliance, Housing Action Coalition, The Two Hundred, the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and California Community Builders.

18 California Community Builders is a member of the team selected by the State Treasurer’s Office to help design the CA Dream for All program.

May the 4th be with you!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy May and may the 4th* be with you! One of the benefits of running a small nonprofit is that you can just sort of decide what’s being celebrated at any given time, and this month we’re all-in on Star Wars. Well, not all in,** but we are using Star Wars Day as a jumping-off point to discuss what feels like a good theme this month: real life heroes working for communities, day in and day out.

Speaking of heroes, it’s almost Mother’s Day. Don’t forget to call your mom, your mom’s mom, or any mom in your life that’s special to you this weekend!

This month, we’re super excited to share an interview we conducted with one of our good friends from outside of California, the inimitable Dina Harris. Dina has an amazing story and, if you’re not familiar with her work, you won’t be disappointed. We are also excited to share an update on legislation we’re supporting this year, a reminder that our happy hour is coming up soon (May 12), and a staff round-robin on our personal heroes.

May is also Asian American Heritage Month,*** and we’d like to use this as an opportunity to honor a civil rights icon – and San Pedro’s hometown hero – Yuri Kochiyama. Since this is a professional newsletter we try to watch our language, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t emphasize what an absolute badass she was. After leaving California for New York, she founded Asian Americans for Action, actively supported the Young Lords and the Harlem Community for Self Defense, was a friend to Malcolm X, and continually sought to connect the struggles of her community to other communities of color (and vice versa). We’re all better off because of Yuri’s advocacy and I hope we live up to the very high bar she set throughout her life.

This month we’d like to ask folks to consider supporting Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing anti-Asian hate in the U.S. There are many great organizations out there doing great work for the AAPI community, but Stop AAPI Hate is addressing an urgent and pressing issue that needs our support right now. We hope you’ll take a moment to contribute to their important work.

In closing, I’d like to share some very inspiring words from Yuri: “Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.”


Adam Briones

CEO, California Community Builders

*Unfortunately, there’s a more political origin to the phrase than one might expect.

**This is actually the last time we’ll reference Star Wars in this newsletter. Apologies to anyone that was looking for a ton of Tatooine-related content.

*** Fun fact, this year also marks the 435th year anniversary of Filipino sailors reaching California’s coast, more than 30 years before the Pilgrim’s landed on Plymouth Rock.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Detroit Edition

This month we’re kicking off a semi-regular series in which CCB staff interviews people doing amazing work in the community. While it’s impossible to tell every story, we’re going to do our best to shine a light on people doing the hard work day-in and day-out to make a difference at the local, state or national level.

For our first interview, we spoke with our friend Dina Harris, the President and Chief Executive Officer of National Faith Homebuyers, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization that provides down payment assistance, financial counseling, and community workshops and classes to support first-time homebuyers in Michigan and Georgia.

Click here to read the full interview.

“God is a big part of the work I do. My work is ministry for me. I get ideas in the middle of the night and am always excited to work for the sake of helping people, not to get awards.”

Update on Priority Legislation

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer (center), and staff from CA YIMBY (left and right), and CCB after a successful vote on AB 2873. Photo credit: Ryan Joy, CA YIMBY.

It’s an exciting time for legislation in California, and we’re happy to report that CCB’s two sponsored bills – AB 2560 and AB 2873 – passed out of their initial committees! As always, this was a team effort and our cosponsors for AB 2560 (Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services / Richmond Community Foundation) and AB 2873 (California YIMBY / LISC LA) deserve all the credit for moving these bills forward.

We have approximately 10,000 more things to get done before these bills can reach the governor and we need your help. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll consider supporting these important pieces of legislation. Additional details below, but please reach out any time to Adam Briones at for more information.

AB 2560 “Transforming Blighted Property into Homeownership Opportunities”

  • Who is the author? Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland)
  • What will the bill do? Create a pilot program in Alameda and Contra Costa counties that will 1) require local governments to create a list of blighted, vacant properties and disseminate that information to community developers; and 2) provide an opportunity for local governments to collaborate with community foundations and financial institutions to create new sources of financing for affordable, for-sale homes.
  • Where can I sign on in support? Visit our website here.

AB 2873 “Affordable Housing Supplier Diversity Act”

  • Who is the author? Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles)
  • What will the bill do? Require affordable housing developers that receive an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to report on the diversity of their contractors, subcontractors, and other suppliers.
  • Where can I sign on in support? Visit our website here.

Update on Priority Legislation

Come join CCB family and friends at Oakland’s historic Aloha Club on 5/12. We’re celebrating a few things:* all of the great work our team and colleagues have done thus far this year, the fact that it’s almost summer, and most important, the ability to be (carefully) together again in-person with our friends! Key facts below and on the flyer:

  • Date – May 12, 2022
  • Time – 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Location – Aloha Club, 952 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA 94601
  • Transportation  1.5 blocks from Fruitvale BART
  • Outdoor space – Great patio, but bring a jacket since it gets cold
  • Longest bar and coldest beer in Oakland – Confirmed, but we encourage you to do your own research

For more information or to RSVP, please email Sylvia Aguilar at or visit

*It’s also Ron’s birthday, but he won’t let us make a big deal about it.

Our Heroes!

Since it’s Star Wars Day and almost Mother’s Day, CCB staff decided to share our biggest heroes, both fictional and real.

Sylvia Aguilar

Chief Operating Officer

My favorite fictional hero is Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter was amazing in that role!

My real hero is Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, who was appointed the new chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and is a champion on the issues I care about.

Moorea Benmosche

Public Policy Intern

My favorite fictional hero is Simba from the Lion King because of his resilience and ability to cultivate relationships with others. Also, great songs.

My real hero is my mom because her drive, strength, ambition, and grace inspire me!

Adam Briones

Chief Executive Officer

My favorite fictional hero is Batman, both because he’s a scientist and has a pretty good cinematic record.

My real favorite hero is my mom, Reyes Briones, who is a wonderful, exceptionally kind person. She also has a lot of professional wisdom from her 25 years in the public sector, including things like “I’d never worked with clowns and didn’t plan to start any time soon.” Love you mom!

Ron Chavez

Director of Community Development

My favorite fictional hero is Superman because he changes his disguise by changing his glasses. Sometimes the simplest approach is best.

My favorite real hero is Nelson Mandela. He led South Africa into unprecedented territory and deserves every accolade he has been given.

Minhal Hanif

Program Manager

My favorite fictional hero is Dr. Strange, so I’m really excited for this upcoming movie.

My real hero is my cat, Milo! I may have rescued him from the streets, but he rescued me from a life of boredom and cat-lessness. 🙂

Hannah Phalen

Senior Program Manager

My favorite fictional hero growing up was Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games because she took care of her family and everyone around her from a young age.

My real hero is my sister for doing the same thing! <3

Here at CCB, we love to recognize folks doing great work in communities. We will be regularly interviewing people who are doing this amazing work and sharing their stories to learn more about their backgrounds and what inspires them within and outside of their jobs. For our first interview, we spoke with Dina Harris, the President and Chief Executive Officer of National Faith Homebuyers, a Detroit-based non-profit organization that provides down payment assistance, finance counseling, and community workshops and classes to support first-time homebuyers. Learn more about National Faith Homebuyers here

Adam: Dina, thanks so much for agreeing be our inaugural partner interviewee! To start, can you tell us where you’re from, where you’re based, and a little about your organization?

Dina: You’re very welcome! I grew up in a small suburb outside Detroit, Michigan, so I feel a very close connection to the communities we’re supporting through the work we do.  

National Faith Homebuyers (NFH) helps anyone, regardless of their background or income level, but we primarily work with Black and Latino families. We manage down payment assistance for five municipalities in Michigan and offer between $7,500 and $15,000 to each family we work with.  I’m also currently working on a proposal to house Afghan refugees who are currently staying in Detroit hotels. 

When I first moved NFH to Detroit, I was the only employee! But with the help of community leaders and student volunteers, we made NFH what it is today.  

Looking at the number of people securing loans and becoming homeowners, our numbers at NFH keep rising, while national levels are dropping. We are different from other organizations and efforts because we teach lenders why it is so important to support our communities. And we also coach families so that they are prepared before they walk into a bank to apply for a loan. We do a lot of credit counseling and personal finance and couponing workshops, while also appealing to children with interactive activities like coloring books. In addition to our unwavering passion and commitment to this cause, we never send families into banks unprepared. 

Adam: It’s amazing to learn how you grew from an idea to the large organization you are today!  Why do you think you do the work you do? What moved you to create an organization like National Faith Homebuyers?

Dina: I started National Faith Homebuyers in 1996 in Ann Arbor. As a newly single mom with a reduced income due to a recent job loss, I was looking to buy a house. I had experience working in public housing and Section 8 for a city outside Ann Arbor, and I took a class to start my own business. Believe it or not, housing wasn’t my initial plan! But after learning more about the connections between personal finances and housing opportunities, I began to weave housing into my vision to provide financial training services to families.  

Growing up in public housing, I saw how generations of Black families were so heavily dependent on the program. I saw the hopelessness of my neighbors who had been consistently denied access to opportunities that would improve their financial situations. At the same time, I noted the racial differences in how some of my neighbors of other races were receiving economic opportunities that allowed them to move out of public housing and purchase homes, while others stayed in public housing for generations.  

My experiences and observations prompted me to start working in my town’s public housing department at the age of 14 and to continue doing so for the next 20 years. I’m still not satisfied with public housing as an institution and its ability to help people become more socioeconomically mobile. But I’m really excited about new and creative ideas for subsidized housing like expanding the portions of new developments that are allocated for affordable housing and allowing people to use their Section 8 vouchers to purchase homes. 

Moorea: Thanks for sharing that Dina, it’s always really moving to hear the details behind what drives leaders like you to do work that so many others are unwilling to.  Somewhat related, is there someone from your past or even today that really inspires you, personally or professionally?

Dina: Charles Beatty really took me under his wing and treated me like a daughter. He told me I could accomplish my dreams and took time to mentor me. He also taught me the importance of keeping my ego under control and staying humble. God is also a big part of the work I do. My work is ministry for me. I get ideas in the middle of the night and am always excited to work for the sake of helping people, not to get awards. Results are important to me; I always track data to identify the outcomes of the work we do at NFH so we can make sure that we are doing the absolute best we can.

Adam: Mr. Beatty sounds like a wonderful man! I’m really curious, what’s something you wish more people knew or understood about the work you do?

Dina: Many have tried to compete with NFH or replicate our model, but they can’t figure out our special secret…the formula is being nice and decent! We show our clients that we believe in them, and that we have hearts. It’s funny because I sometimes scare banks because of how nice I am. It shocks them! Being nice, but also firm and goal-oriented is the key in this industry. 

But I’d also like people to understand how deep the inequities in appraisals are. For example, a large national lender gave NFH a building in southwest Detroit that appraised at $330,000, but it should’ve been over $750,000. Things like this make me realize that if they’re giving me this much trouble, the amount of trouble they give everyone else must be astronomical. I also think students are an untapped resource and that they have brilliant new ideas for home construction. I hope to explore different ways to build houses out of recycled materials in the future. 

Moorea: A business strategy that never goes out of style: being nice and decent! What do you tell young people when they ask you for career advice?

Dina: Really all I can say is to follow your dreams, but also don’t be afraid to change them! With drive and passion, you can accomplish anything. But make sure that you’re also listening to yourself and doing what you really want to do, because it won’t come easy. 

Adam: That’s really helpful and advice I hope students and non-students alike follow.  Somewhat related, when all is said and done, what is your dream and what is the change you want to see in the world?

Dina: I really just want to level the playing field. I want to help people become more financially aware and to overcome the fear, intimidation, and generational trauma that has caused us to be afraid of gaining financial knowledge. But I also want the world to stop blocking us from gaining access to financial knowledge that will help us be more socioeconomically mobile.

Moorea: Last question…how did you get so cool?

Dina: My grandchildren! I like to think I’m a cool grandma too! I really prioritize family; all my children work for me to carry on NFH’s purpose. 

I’m also a dreamer. I always plan with the end goal in mind. I close my eyes and imagine all the families NFH helps standing in front of their very own house. That image keeps me going and helps me remain hopeful. I also take piano lessons and am hoping to take acting classes soon! And after I retire, I hope to travel to Europe and explore more of the world. 

There’s always time to make a difference!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy April 1! The year is *flying* by and it’s definitely been a busy two months since our last newsletter. As always, we’re very excited to share some of our biggest (or at least most flattering) updates.

This month’s newsletter is a nice mix of research and politics which, knowing our audience, should appeal to almost everyone. Also, since it is April 1 aka April Fools’ Day, the California Community Builders team will be breaking new ground by sharing not only an April Fools, but also an April Serious.

If anything you read strikes a chord please connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn. While you’re at it, it’s never too early in the year to make a tax-deductible donation here. Plus, we now accept crypto currency!*

Lastly, CCB would also like to take this opportunity to wish Dolores Huerta an early and very happy birthday! Dolores will be 92 on April 10 and is truly one of the most inspiring, impactful Californians still with us today. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate her birthday, a good place to start might be donating to her foundation.

When you start feeling like the year is moving by too fast or there’s not enough time to make a difference, keep this quote from Dolores in mind: “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

There’s time to do the work if we make the time. We can all get it done together!


Adam Briones

CEO, California Community Builders

*Sorry, April Fools. We only accept money-money, not kinda-money.

New Report Alert: “Housing, Homeownership, and the Racial Wealth Gap”

We’re very proud to announce the publication of our new report looking at the intersection of housing, homeownership and the racial wealth gap. In sum, historic policies and practices such as redlining and exclusionary zoning have made it difficult for communities of color to own homes and build wealth over time. In addition, decades of underbuilding has led to a homeownership gap which perpetuates the racial wealth gap.

Through interviews and a review of existing research, we explore issues surrounding access to housing, housing production, access to capital, and the difference between wealth and income as it relates to economic security. This paper offers specific recommendations for using housing and homeownership as means to close the racial wealth gap.

Please click here to read more!

CCB’s Legislative Priorities

AB 2560 (Bonta) “Transforming Blighted Property into Homeownership Opportunities”

This year Assembly Member Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) has introduced AB 2560, co-sponsored by Richmond Neighborhood Housing ServicesRichmond Community Foundation, and CCB, to create new, much-needed sources of acquisition and construction financing for affordable homeownership. The bill will require local governments to:

  • Identify blighted properties through code enforcement, nuisance abatement, and tax delinquency;
  • Collaborate with social equity investors, banks, regional charitable foundations, and infill community developers to create increased financing opportunities to acquire vacant, blighted properties and use them to create affordable homes;
  • Make these homes available to first time homebuyers whose incomes do not exceed 120% of the Area Media Income; and
  • Determine policy and administrative changes required to achieve the above.

To sign on in support of the bill, please click here. For more information please visit our website here.

AB 2873 (Jones-Sawyer) “Affordable Housing Supplier Diversity Act”

This year Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduced AB 2873, co-sponsored by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los AngelesCalifornia YIMBY, and CCB. The bill will require the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee to collect supplier demographic data from developers who receive funding from the tax credit program. The information collected will then be used to set diversity and inclusion goals and will be publicly available through an annual report.

For more information or to sign on in support of the bill please visit our website here.

April Fools/April Serious

In the spirit of celebrating both April Fools’ Day and being earnest on the internet, we wanted to share an April Fools joke as well as something we sincerely believe.

Sylvia Aguilar

Chief Operating Officer

April Fools: April 1 is famously the best day of the year to propose to your partner.

April Serious: I am grateful to be able to make a difference in the community, including the one that my husband and I have built for ourselves. I am also grateful he did not propose on April Fools’ Day.

Moorea Benmosche

Public Policy Intern

April Fools: As an undergraduate student in Berkeley I can say that the current housing system is perfect and requires no change!

April Serious: Disproportionate impacts and housing experiences for those with marginalized identities demonstrate the urgency of developing creative solutions to remedy exclusionary policies and practices.

Adam Briones

Chief Executive Officer

April Fools: It really is true what they say, running a small non-profit is both lucrative and easy.

April Serious: This is the best job I’ve ever had and I’m profoundly grateful to be at CCB!

Ron Chavez

Director of Community Development

April Fools: The solution to the housing crisis is simple, we just need to [insert simple solution that won’t actually fix the housing crisis].

April Serious: The housing crisis is complicated and a real solution will need to reflect that complexity.

Minhal Hanif

Program Manager

April Fools: Babies born on March 31st are the easiest to prank on April Fools day. They were literally born yesterday.

April Serious: I am seriously grateful for every person who doesn’t pull the toothpaste Oreo prank this year. No more mean spirited pranks in 2022, only nice ones!

Hannah Phalen

Senior Program Manager

April Fools: Writing my thesis for a masters in public policy has been relaxing and straightforward. Highly recommend.

April Serious: Today marks 45 days until I graduate from grad school, and I cannot be more ready!

Historical policies and practices such as redlining and exclusionary zoning that discriminate against marginalized communities have made it difficult for BIPOC to own homes and build wealth over time. In addition to this, decades of underbuilding homes and a lack of maintenance of pre-existing homes have led to a racial homeownership gap, which perpetuates the racial wealth gap. Through interviews with six experts in the field of housing, we tackle and explore issues surrounding access to housing, issues in housing production, access to capital, and understanding the difference between wealth and income as it relates to accumulating capital and gaining homeownership. The cyclical nature of these issues continues to financially and socially oppress BIPOC. With our findings, this paper offers specific recommendations on using housing and homeownership as means to close the racial wealth gap. 

Happy New Year!

January 31, 2022

Adam Briones

While we here at CCB know that some people have *very* strong opinions about when to stop saying “Happy New Year,” we also know that it’s not quite February yet and this is our first newsletter of 2022 so…Happy New Year everybody! We hope it was a great one for you and your loved ones.

This inaugural newsletter of the year features one last round up of what we’re proud to have accomplished in 2021, our inspiring friends and some of their big wins last year, and a quick overview of what we here at CCB are most excited for in 2022.

If anything you read strikes a chord, please don’t hesitate to contact us here and connect with us on Twitter @CACommBuilders or LinkedIn — aka your nephew and uncle’s favorite social media platforms, respectively. Also, while you’re at it, it’s never too early in the year to make a tax-deductible donation here. 😊

Until we cross paths again we hope everyone stays safe, stays engaged, and when things get tough, keeps the words and spirit of the immortal Fannie Lou Hamer in mind:

Winner: CA Dream for All Program Design Project

One of CCB’s biggest wins last year came as most big wins do: from teamwork. CCB, as a part of a larger team led by California Forward, and including HR&A Advisors and CSG Advisors, has been selected by the State Treasurer’s Office as the winner of the California Dream for All shared-equity mortgage design project. The program seeks to address a major barrier to homeownership for underserved families who are shut out of the current mortgage market. Beginning this month, our team will help design a new shared equity mortgage product that, if adopted by the state, will create a new pathway to homeownership for these families.

While California and the US as a whole must address our underproduction of housing and ensure that BIPOC developers play a leading role, we believe this project could make a material difference in one of the most significant barriers to homeownership and wealth-building for people of color: access to safe, affordable mortgage capital.

We love to see our friends win!

We really like to brag about our friends and the great work they do! For real, they’re awesome. As our last look back at 2021, here are just a few of the amazing things some of our nonprofit partners and friends accomplished.*

Ventura County Community Development Corporation: VCCDC celebrated their 20th year of service in 2021! Incorporated in 2001, VCCDC offers homeowner education, lending products for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, and realty services to strengthen communities, create homeowners empowered with financial resiliency, and help build family wealth.

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics InitiativeIn April 2021, Sonja Diaz and Dr. Matt Barreto testified in hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R.1 and H.R.4, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, respectively. Their findings were ultimately included in the congressional report, “Voting in America” and were instrumental in laying the evidentiary basis for new voting rights legislation that was approved by the House.

The Two HundredThe 200 elevated “homeownership” as a critical equity issue among assembly legislators for the first time in many years of public discourse as evident in the Assembly Housing Committee eight-city listening tour conversations in late 2021 and subsequent report. The Two Hundred for Homeownership, previously known as The 200, is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation as of November 9, 2021. The incorporators, Joe Coto, Herman Gallegos, and Robert J. Apodaca stated its mission is to provide a pathway out of poverty through homeownership and reduced cost of living.

Terner Housing LabThe Terner Housing Lab received nearly 160 applications from early-stage nonprofit and for profit innovators across the country with creative solutions to improve housing affordability and equity. The five organizations selected for the 2021 cohort have already gone on to negotiate significant government partnerships and raise nearly $100M to support the expansion of their work.

Richmond Neighborhood Housing ServicesRichmond Neighborhood Housing Services announced its first ever Emerging Developers Program (EDP) in Fall 2021. EDP is a 3-month long educational program designed to provide 15-20 professionals with the knowledge and technical skills to develop infill units and single-family homes. RNHS will coordinate and align resources between community-based technical assistance providers, the City of Oakland, and lenders to maximize the resources targeted directly at Black-led development and real estate-related firms. This project’s governance structure will center Black-led organizations while also still being flexible enough to grow as the project grows with success.

LISC San Diego: This year LISC San Diego, Union Bank and the San Diego Foundation launched our $1.25 million San Diego Black Homebuyer Program that is providing qualified Black families living and buying their first home in San Diego County a minimum of $40K for their down payment. Here is profile of their first grantee, Tyshawn Cook.

Home Free USAIn 2021, the HomeFree-USA network proudly assisted over 4,000 Californians attain homeownership, or avoid eviction or foreclosure. Most of these families were nervous about being taken advantage of and concerned they’d never find a home they could afford in the state they love. With the help of 11 California nonprofits, these families happily accessed downpayment assistance, achieved sustainable and affordable homeownership, or learned and exercised their rights in order to remain in their home.

Faith and Community EmpowermentFACE has worked to advocate for equity and inclusion for all communities including the Asian American community. In a press release announcing their $88 billion Community Benefits Plan, PNC Bank named Faith and Community Empowerment as one of four community organizations recognized for their role in advising and shaping their community benefits plan.

CRA BaltimoreCRA Baltimore is a coalition working to hold the top 12 banks accountable for racially relevant specific commitments to Black and Latino communities in Baltimore City. Their work ensures that the days of allowing banks to cover up their poor lending and support to match theirs with national commitments are over in Baltimore City.

Council on Technology and & Society: The Council on Technology & Society has been working with Ilya Volodarsky, co-founder of Segment, to launch a new organization dedicated to advancing evidence-based wildfire management and mitigation. The org will help coordinate megafire response across state and national stakeholders, as well as fill a critical advocacy and education gap in California.

CA YIMBYLast year was a monumentally successful year for CA YIMBY! Four of the bills they supported in 2021 are now law, including SB 9 (enables homeowners to split their property into two lots and build two homes on each lot) and SB 10 (helps cities legalize “missing middle” apartments). They also released 3 videos on the key issues California faces when it comes to housing, including the cause of the affordability crisis, the challenges facing middle-income workers, and how the affordability crisis is exacerbating climate change.

CA ForwardCalifornia Forward made impressive strides this past legislative year, working to craft and pass the $600 million Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) to invest in California’s regional economies in a radically different way. In coalition, the organization worked to secure a historic $6-billion investment in broadband that will reduce digital inequity and the 2019 “California’s Wildfire Crisis: A Call To Action” helped spur action that led to a commitment of $1.5 billion to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Abundant Housing Los AngelesBuilding on AHLA’s 2019 victory of the Coastal Plan for Southern California, a plan for 1.4 million homes concentrated in high-cost coastal areas, AHLA helped ensure that every city in Los Angeles County has a realistic plan for implementing these goals. Because of the consistent advocacy, the City of LA is going forward with a bold housing element to create dramatic increases in capacity and housing production – a rezoning plan that will include more than 250,000 as a production target, and will create more than 1.4M increase in capacity.

*This is a highly truncated list. We look forward to sharing even more wins from even more of our great allies in the future!

What are you hopeful for in 2022?

We here at CCB are eternal optimists and know that 2022 is going to be our best year yet. Here’s a few things that we’re excited to do, see, or accomplish this year.

Sylvia Aguilar

Chief Operating Officer

This year, I look forward to working with our partners to protect, defend and expand housing that is truly affordable. I also hope my backyard garden bears more fruit this year!

Moorea Benmosche

Public Policy Intern

I can’t wait to see all the improvements in housing policy from 2021 take effect in the new year as the housing advocacy field continues to grow in both California and the rest of the country. I also hope to master my mom’s famous short ribs recipe!

Adam Briones

Chief Executive Officer

I look forward to a year where it becomes easier to building housing for working class families, easier for those families to buy homes in their communities, and easier for BIPOC developers to fully participate in the growth of their own neighborhoods. I also hope Dune 2 comes out this year, the sci-fi community demands it!

Ron Chavez

Director of Community Development

My hope for the new year is that the movement towards racial equity will be seen as a rational means to heal and strengthen our country, and not as charity. I also hope I can go on a date to hear live music without a mask some day.

Minhal Hanif

Program Manager

This year I hope that we can make significant progress towards policies that affirm fair housing and create equal economic opportunity for all. I also look forward to adopting another cat and naming it Mithai.

Jessica Martin

Research Fellow

This year I hope that the momentum on workers rights and the renewed interest in the labor movement continue. I really want to live in a society that values people, their talents and their time not with platitudes but with a living wage. I’d also like to spend a few days on a tropical vacation somewhere doing absolutely nothing after I graduate in June.

Hannah Phalen

Senior Program Manager

I hope that the once-in-8-years Housing Element cycle will be fruitful and lead to the housing production our state needs, and hopefully lead the nation in how to affirmatively further fair housing. I also hope Frank Ocean drops a new album or goes on tour!

emailing address:

November 23, 2021 –

by Moorea Benmosche, Public Policy Intern

It’s Time to Center Women of Color in the Racial Wealth Gap Discussion

The Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call. People of color were hardest hit by Covid, as they entered the pandemic with far fewer resources than their wealthier and whiter counterparts. The lack of resources in communities of color left them less prepared for the unexpected crises that arose due to Covid. The wealth gap is a tremendous and ongoing disparity that acts as a barrier to the socioeconomic success of millions of Americans. Broader than a snapshot of one’s income at a specific point in time, wealth is simply the difference between one’s assets (house, business, savings, etc.) and debts (credit card, college, medical, etc.). Most heavily impacted by the wealth gap are those who have historically been pushed to the sidelines of decision-making and society at large: people of color and women. Women of color, who are situated at the intersection of marginalized racial and gender identities, have a unique experience that is not discussed or studied nearly as much as the isolated race and gender wealth gaps.

Most of the existing discussions, research, and advocacy surrounding this topic focus on the income gap. However, it is crucial to pinpoint that income and wealth are not the same. While the income gap for women is significant, it is nowhere near as large as the wealth gap. Women earn 79 cents to every dollar white men earn, but own only 32 cents to every dollar owned by a white man. That said, income, in conjunction with a variety of other factors, does impact one’s ability to build wealth. Women are also twice as likely to be working part-time than men and make up the majority of the low-wage and minimum wage worker population while simultaneously being underrepresented in higher-paying industries. Women of color are positioned within more complex disparities that stem from both racial and gender discrimination. Higher percentages of women of color live in poverty: 9.6% of white women live in poverty while 21% of Latina women, and 23% of Black women live below the poverty line. Subprime lenders have also targeted women of color: Black women are 2.5 times more likely to receive subprime mortgages than white men, Latina women are 1.5 times more likely, and Asian Pacific Islanders are also targeted more than their white counterparts. Despite the usual emphasis on the wage gap, factors beyond income clearly contribute to the wealth gap we see today.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also disproportionately affected the ability of women of color to acquire wealth. Women make up 77% of the healthcare worker population and had to mobilize to help combat the spread of Covid quickly. Women also tend to take on a sizable portion of the domestic labor at home, which was exacerbated due to the closure of schools and other childcare facilities during the pandemic. Due to the lack of wealth in communities of color, non-white people entered the pandemic with more economic and social vulnerability. Women of color are more likely to have pre-existing health issues, which puts them at greater risk of contracting Covid, people of color are less likely to have health insurance to help pay for unexpected medical bills, and Asian populations have faced heightened levels of discrimination and xenophobia. The Covid-19 pandemic’s uneven impact set people of color, especially women of color, back even further than we were before.

Typically, wealth is compared between members of different racial groups, but in analyzing the wealth gap for women, it is also important to examine the gender wealth gap within communities. When comparing men and women of the same race, wealth inequality is relatively low in Black and Latino communities but much higher between white women and men. Black and Latine communities have low levels of wealth regardless of gender, with the median wealth for single Black women being $200 compared to single Black men having $300, and the median wealth for single Latina women being $100 and single Latino men having $950. These numbers pale compared to the median wealth for single white women, which is $15,640 and $28,900 for single white men. This demonstrates that gender wealth disparities are much greater for white women than for women of color. Race seems to be the driving factor contributing to wealth disparities, while gender is a secondary disadvantage.

Relationship status is also an important factor in discussions about wealth, and the wealth levels of non-single women are notably different than those of single women. There is still a considerable wealth gap for couples of color who file their taxes jointly; the median wealth for Black and Latine households is $11,000 and $14,000, respectively, while the median wealth for white households is $134,000. Women in marriages and serious relationships have higher levels of wealth since they are not the only breadwinners in their households, but the racial wealth gap persists regardless of relationship status.

The most powerful methods for women of color to build wealth are through business ownership and homeownership. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council expands opportunities for women of color to own businesses and build business equity. Groups that work to increase the number of women of color business owners already exist but need to be strengthened and supported. We must also focus more heavily on homeownership, as housing makes up 2/3 of a household’s total wealth. To increase homeownership for people of color, we must reexamine biased mortgage criteria and provide resources for down payment assistance like refundable first-time homebuyers’ credits. Mortgage applications must also be adjusted to account for gaps in employment due to Covid. Furthermore, we must begin to view renting as a gateway to homeownership, so long as rent is affordable. Hence, housing assistance for renters in the form of vouchers and emergency rental assistance should be implemented so they have the capacity to save and eventually become homeowners.

There are also a variety of additional solutions that can be implemented as we work to close the wealth gap for women of color. Eliminating student debts and implementing supportive family care policies that make healthcare affordable are crucial first steps to increasing wealth for women of color. Broadening initiatives like the California Secure Choice Program to open up retirement account access to smaller employers, creating portable benefits for independent contractors and domestic workers, and expanding tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit can also help to build wealth for women of color. Additionally, offering financial coaching and education for women like the Mission Asset Fund in San Francisco can provide support to build credit and help reduce barriers for women to save.

But even beyond these policy suggestions, an ideological shift is the most vital change to begin effectively supporting women of color. Here at CCB, we focus on centering the voices of those at the margins of society and policymaking. Part of our work includes understanding and researching the racial wealth gap through a lens that acknowledges the overlap between race and other identities that impact one’s quality of life. Throughout history, those in power have viewed people or color as only consumers instead of contributors to the economy and society in general. This has led to the belief that the wealth gap is due to individual behaviors of communities of color. In reality, the gap results from structural and institutional racism manifesting in “race-neutral” policy choices. Women of color need to be included in these conversations so that the nuances that most might miss can be flushed out before policies have any additional adverse effects. If women of color are not sitting at the table where these decisions are being made, the outcomes will be worse for us and for society in general. And those who think they’re supporting equity might unintentionally contribute to the problem due to their inability to truly understand the experience of living in America as a woman of color.