Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act (AB 2011) Advances to Senate

For immediate release:
  • Erin Ivie
  • Director of Communications, Office of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
  • 510-619-8495
  • erin.ivie@asm.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO — Today, the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act (AB 2011) passed the Assembly on a vote of 48-9, clearing its first major hurdle and advancing to the State Senate. 

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development, celebrated the bill’s passage as the “product of two groups at odds, coming together to figure out a path forward that accomplishes two goals – increasing the supply of housing and creating good jobs.” As the bill moves forward, Asm. Wicks encouraged stakeholders on all sides of the issue to come to the table for ongoing dialogue and collaboration. 

“Today’s vote brings us one step closer to streamlining production of a huge amount of much-needed affordable housing, and in turn creating tens of thousands of well-paying, high road construction jobs in every community,” said Asm. Wicks. “I look forward to the road ahead in the Senate, where great partners like Sen. Scott Wiener and other housing champions are ready and waiting to thoughtfully consider this bill, and make decisions that will produce unprecedented housing and home ownership opportunities for Californians at all income levels.”

The 2022 Statewide Housing Plan estimates California needs approximately 2.5 million new units of housing over the next eight years – including over one million units affordable to lower income households. According to the Housing and Community Development Department, the state will need 180,000 new units of housing each year just to keep up with existing demand, including 80,000 units affordable to lower-income households. Today, California averages fewer than 100,000 new units per year, and has never produced more than 25,000 new affordable homes in any year.

In response to this crisis, AB 2011 pairs new opportunities to build 100% affordable housing and mixed-income housing on underutilized commercial sites with requirements that developers meet a range of responsible wage and training standards:

  • Prevailing wage is required on all projects. 
  • For projects of 50 or more units, contractors must either participate in a state-approved apprenticeship program or request the dispatch of apprentices from a program and provide health benefits for their workers. If no apprentice workers are available, the project can still move forward. 
  • The bill also includes new enforcement mechanisms to ensure these wage and benefits standards are being met.

“This bill supports critical housing development, while ensuring strong labor standards for the workers who build these homes,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “I applaud the labor and affordable housing advocates for coming together under the author’s leadership, and look forward to continued discussions as it moves to the Senate.” 

With thousands of underutilized commercial sites across California, one recent analysis found the potential for building three million units of affordable housing in just the Bay Area and Los Angeles County. The bill also includes new homeownership opportunities for middle-income Californians, while promoting climate-friendly affordable development on sites close to jobs and transit.

“AB 2011 is about building needed homes, supporting workers who will be building these homes, and making progress towards our ultimate goal of creating communities where California families can afford to live,” said Assemblymember Timothy Grayson (D-Concord). “I’m grateful to my colleagues who have helped us advance the bill to the next step in the process, and I look forward to continuing conversations to ensure that we are creating housing opportunities while protecting worker opportunities.”

After years of legislative gridlock over housing workforce issues, AB 2011’s housing provisions and strong labor protections are the first to be endorsed by both affordable housing and labor groups. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Housing Consortium, a statewide coalition of affordable housing providers, and the California Conference of Carpenters, representing more than 82,000 union carpenters across the state.

“With California facing a shortage of more than one million homes affordable to lower-income families, workers, and seniors, today’s vote was an impressive show of resolve by members of the Legislature who recognize there is still much more the state can do to accelerate development of safe, affordable homes for struggling Californians — while also providing steady, well-paying jobs to the workers who build them,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium. “I want to thank Asm. Wicks, the coauthors, and all of the members who voted in support for their leadership today. California desperately needs affordable housing and a strong, stable, middle-class construction workforce. Now is the time for policies that help every community produce both. AB 2011 does just that, and we look forward to making the case for it in the Senate.”

“AB 2011 will get more affordable homes built, while putting forth the strongest labor standards in the country – period,” said Daniel Curtin, Director of the California Conference of Carpenters. “It will let us all get to work now, with the workers we have, while ensuring that every worker on a jobsite is treated fairly as we rebuild the blue-collar, middle-class construction workforce of the future. On behalf of the Carpenters, we applaud the Legislature for voting ‘yes’ on a genuine, workable solution to our state’s dire shortage of affordable housing, and for advancing this fair, balanced and thoughtful bill.”

AB 2011 will now advance to the California State Senate, where it will be referred for its first Senate committee hearing during the month of June. 

For more information:

  • A fact sheet on AB 2011 is available here.
  • A Sacramento Bee editorial on the bill is here.
  • A San Jose Mercury News op-ed by the co-sponsors is here.
  • A Los Angeles Daily News op-ed from the Executive Director of the California Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) is here