SANTA MARIA, Calif. - California Governor Gavin Newsom signed what he calls "The Affordability Budget" Monday.
In his first state budget, $1.75 billion dollars has been devoted to housing production and new strong incentives to spur more housing.
A Central Coast non-profit is already looking at sites in Santa Maria so they can try and take advantage of that funding.
“We have not seen this kind of money from the state of California, maybe ever,” said John Fowler, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing President and CEO.
Peoples’ Self-Help Housing’s President and CEO says Governor Newsom is making good on a campaign promise.
“We talk about budgets being statements of values. They are a statement of values. Those values are reflected in each and every one of you. California values were reflected in this year's budget,” said Governor Gavin Newsom (D - California) at a press conference Monday.
Fowler hopes the close to two billion dollars allocated to address California’s housing crisis, trickle down to the Central Coast.
“We’ve been anticipating that this is going to be coming down and so we have been looking at sites and getting ready for the funding to show up because as you know, it takes a while to get housing projects off the ground,"
In fact, Fowler says it takes three to five years to make a project happen.
With 52 Central Coast locations, he is hoping they can double their portfolio.
A Peoples' Self-Help Housing site can already be seen taking shape behind the Bethel Lutheran Church off Camino Colegio.
“The Governor set up a plan to provide 3.5 million homes by 2025. That’s unheard of,” said Fowler.
To put that into perspective, Fowler says California should be producing 80,000 homes on an annual basis and we haven’t been meeting that.
He highlights the carrots and sticks in Newsom’s plan, incentives for local jurisdictions to upgrade plans and streamline approvals and if housing isn’t fast-tracked on the local level, the Governor may hold back transportation dollars to those cities.
“Our hope would be to try and get projects off the board and in development within a year to 18-months, would be ideal,” adds Fowler.
Fowler does expect some competition for the funding but says Peoples’ Self-Help Housing will be shovel ready