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CCRH Statement on SB 18 Veto


Governor Newsom Vetoes SB 18 to Create New Tribal Housing Program but Pledges to Consider in FY 24-25 Budget

SB 18 - CCRH Veto Statement
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As ardent supporters of Tribal housing, the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) is very disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed SB 18 (McGuire), the Tribal Housing Reconstitution and Resiliency Act, on Saturday, October 7. The Governor also vetoed a related bill, AB 371 (E. Garcia). Both bills passed the Legislature with a unanimous, bi-partisan vote of 120 to 0!

SB 18 recognized that California’s native peoples have suffered generations of State-sponsored genocide, persecution, discrimination, land theft, marginalization, and displacement that have directly resulted in the chronic under-development of Tribal communities. Tribes experience poverty, overcrowded homes, houses with incomplete plumbing or kitchens, and rent burdens at twice the rate of the rest of the state.

SB 18 also recognized that current housing and community development programs operated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and other State agencies were not created with Tribal needs in mind and, consequently, work only for a handful of larger and better-resourced Tribes. Tribal set-asides within existing State programs are well-intentioned, but greatly undersubscribed because of their complexities and requirements that do not respect Tribal capacities, needs, and practices. To date, only about 13 of 109 federally-recognized Tribes have been able to successfully apply for and receive State housing funds.

Administered by HCD, SB 18 would have created a first-ever, dedicated Tribal housing program designed by Tribes for Tribes. The California Tribal Housing Grant Program provides equitable access to financing for Tribes to produce and preserve decent, affordable, and sustainable homes and deliver housing programs for low- and moderate-income Tribal members in a manner compatible with Tribal sovereignty and cultural heritage. AB 371 would have worked to remove barriers that routinely prevent Tribes from accessing Tribal set-asides in existing programs. Together, they would have made a sea change in the ability of Tribes to benefit from State housing funds and rebuild their communities.

CCRH understands the current fiscal outlook and competing housing needs informed the Governor’s veto and are heartened by the Governor’s veto message, which commits the Administration to make: “system overhauls such as those included in these two bills….through the budget process where a dedicated grant program to address tribal housing needs—using either new general fund and/or reappropriation of existing tribal set-asides—can be established, along with appropriate program rules to streamline application processes, with more flexible uses to better meet the unique housing needs of tribal governments.” Further, the Governor states that: “I am committed to addressing these important issues in next year's budget and look forward to working with the Legislature and our tribal partners to help deliver these critical dollars to tribal communities where—and how—they are needed.”

We take the Governor at his word.

While the 2023 legislative calendar did not end with a new Tribal housing program set to become law on January 1st of next year, CCRH looks forward to continuing the fight for decent, affordable, and safe housing for California’s Tribal communities. Beyond that, we are thankful to all of our Tribal and housing partners who helped create the language, testify in committee, submit support letters throughout the process, and advocate for a better system, one designed by those who would be using it. Finally, thank you to Senate Majority Leader McGuire for your leadership and courage on this issue.

Robert Wiener

Executive Director

California Coalition for Rural Housing


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