Sample Social Work and Human Services Essay Paper on Building Homes and Jobs Act

Abstract

In the early 1960s, the United States government embarked on a new strategy in providing affordable housing units, mainly targeting the low-income individuals. Several Federal policies shifted from public housing to private approaches in which private organizations were incorporated in the construction and management of affordable social welfare housing. The public-private housing programs established in the 1960s and 1970s were highly effective. Nonetheless, many housing projects suffered numerous challenges, for instance, bad underwriting, pathetic management, and economic hard times, which led to a deterioration of the sector. In response, some housing advocates introduced programs and procedures to salvage the affected projects by supporting their finances. For many poor Americans, owning a decent home and an appropriate living environment remains a dream. Lack of sufficient housing is not only a problem for many poor citizens but also detrimental to the larger society because of its adverse impacts on public health. The failure to provide sufficient housing in the United States is a failure on the government part to fulfill societal obligations to its populations. The current regulation permits numerous agendas that provide support for individuals who are urgently in need of housing, especially the disadvantaged groups. The regulation also ensures that those who purchase houses for the first time are assisted in making deposits. The current paper analyzes the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act in California.

Building Homes and Jobs Act

Introduction

            California State has continually faced a severe shortage of affordable housing that has affected many individuals and businesses in several parts of the state. Businesses have experienced high turnover rates because of this challenge. To solve the affordable housing concern in, the California Elected representatives ratified the Building Homes and Jobs Act (“Act”). The Governor signed the act on September 29, 2017, and its changes to the law became operative immediately. The bill introduced another chapter on both the Government Code and the Health and Safety Code. From January 1, 2018, a charge of $75 was enforced on each real estate documentation process, up to a maximum of $225. The rates generated from the Act would be collected at the local governments and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research through the creation of the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017).  The California State Treasury was entitled to manage control the Fund (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017). Through the new obligations on counties with regard to the imposition of the recording fee, the bill establishes a state-assigned local program.

As stated in the bill, the section concerned with Housing and Community Development receives revenues from the fee on a quarterly basis once all county managerial expenditures are subtracted. The fee would then be deposited to the Building Homes and Jobs Fund, which the bill establishes within the State Treasury. The bill, upon assumption by the Legislature, necessitates that 20% of the money in the fund be used in the affordable owner-occupied workforce housing (Tinnelly, 2017). According to the bill, audits need to be conducted and reported frequently. The bill also establishes a panel that manages the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund, which is also in charge of examining and permitting endorsements by the unit of Housing and Community Development in order to dispense cash from the fund. Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, under Senate Bill 2, sponsored the bill and was passed by a two-thirds vote. The team specialists anticipate the bill to yield approximately $1.2 billion over the next four years and extra $5.8 billion within the current duration, including similar state, local, and personal finances.  (Tinnelly, 2017).

Section 2

The Building Homes and Jobs Act enables the state to acquire revenue on a regular basis for running its activities. The income is obtained from a fee enforced on real estate business processes as well as the sale of housing assets (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017). The Act has enabled the state to avail several cheaper houses to its citizens. Many people have also been hired to work in the housing sector; thus, improving their standard of living, as they are able to obtain income to sustain themselves. Increased and continued funding for affordable housing is important in stabilizing California’s housing development and construction bazaar. Moreover, the act assists individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The Building Homes and Jobs Act guarantees a planned construction of safe and reasonably priced apartments and single-family homes for the all the populations class of the state (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017). The act also provides a source of investment opportunity and influence considerable extra source of income in federal, local, and private investment (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017). Increased investment opportunity will have a positive impact on the growth and development of the state. Regarding generating employment opportunities, the act is estimated to create more jobs annually for every amount spent on affordable housing, predominantly in the besieged construction sector. Disseminating these funds across the states through a successful private/public partnership model will ensure more employment opportunities for the state residents, as well as increased revenue for local governments. Lastly, the act will also position business organizations in the states to attract and retain talent that will stir California’s economy.

Section 3

            The United States has both explicit and implicit social obligations to offer adequate housing for its entire population. To-date, the responsibility remains unfulfilled in most parts of the nation. Confirmation of this catastrophe abounds in the enormous numbers of homeless families on city streets: the large numbers of families that have to live with other families doubled. California’s housing supply has not assumed the obligation of providing adequate housing facilities to its residents. The state’s strong economy and population increase have contributed to a growing demand for housing. According to McKinsey (2016), California is ranked at position 49 in the U.S. for housing units per capita. With the existing deficiency of almost two (2) million units, McKinsey’s report further found that although based on current construction rates, one million additional homes are projected to be built in California by 2025. During the same period, the population is estimated to rise by 3.6 million (McKinsey, 2016). Therefore, increased demand for housing coupled with inadequate supply contributes to unaffordable housing.

            According to McKinsey (2016), in the City of San Francisco, for instance, individuals earning 179% of the AMI (Area Median Income), or $140,000 per year, could not afford the cost of housing. Therefore, a shortage of housing poses several consequences socially, economically, and politically. These include weakening of the economy through the loss of economic production to the social factor of homelessness. Such factors triggered the enactment of the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2015, about 25% of the U.S. destitute population lived in California, a state that contemporarily has often been considered the 6th largest economy globally if it were a nation (Catalano, 2017). Therefore, SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act is an effective approach towards addressing the housing stalemate in California that impacts the social, economic, and political state of the nation.

Section 4

            California State had experienced many years of havoc caused by budget-shattering rents and runaway home prices. To address the problem, several affordable-housing bills were introduced. California’s high housing costs have been a strangling factor in its economy and environment hence undermining other factors that enhance quality life (UN News, 2017). Most of the housing bills were introduced in 2017, close to the legislative session that addressed California Housing Crisis. The bills that passed were intended to reorganize new housing developments, implement the Housing Accountability Act, and offer a permanent source of financing for affordable housing projects. The SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act was a new bill that aimed at addressing the housing problem. SB2 is a reintroduction of AB1335 2015/2016 (Atkins), SB 391 2013/2014 (DeSaulnier), & SB 1220 2011/2012 (DeSaulnier) aimed at addressing the housing concerns. Other bills in California that address the housing problem and some that are still awaiting approval include AB 72 (Santiago and Chiu) Enforcement of California Housing Laws, AB 73 (Chiu) Housing Sustainability Districts, AB 678 (Bocanegra), and SB 167 (Skinner) Housing Accountability Act (HAA) Expansion and Enforcement.

Section 5

            The open nature of the societal obligation to meet the housing requirements in the United States is found in the Housing Act of 1949, which specifies the “realization as soon as feasible of the goal of a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family”  (Freeman, 2007). Nonetheless, different politicians representing different generations ratified the Housing Act of 1949, more than a half-century ago. One could claim that this convention is no longer relevant. Nonetheless, the American society views a decent home as a minimal right in America. This is demonstrated by the several state and local guidelines that mandate a minimum level of housing. When California’s deteriorating affordable housing predicament arose, the two main issues that remained unanswered from the past policies were funding and supply. To encourage supply of affordable housing, funding must be provided. The need for funding is the underpinning drive for the affordable housing bill that was passed by the legislature. San Diego’s senator funded the bill, which was backed by many groups in the state. From a political angle, the bill required two-thirds of the majority in the house, meaning that the majority of the political class, particularly the Democrats, supported it. Several advocacy groups, chambers of commerce, and many local governments also supported the bill.  Several advantages of the Act would be experienced. The bill, for instance, establishes a permanent, ongoing source of funding for affordable housing that would rake in $200-$300 million a year in revenue. The Act also has a potential to control millions more in private funding, as well as funding from local and state governments. Deployment of the funds through a public-private partnership, as it is set up, will generate revenue and create jobs for local governments who use these funds to build affordable housing (Dangelantonio, 2017).

Section 6

            The obligation to pay for housing programs that were earlier paid for by a combination of redevelopment funds, state bonds, federal funds, and incomes from local exactions shifted. The responsibility rests with customers recording the documents, for instance, non-property owners, homeowners in foreclosure, miners, among others. Therefore, the SB2 Act is perceived to be at odds with the newly ratified “Homeowners Bill of Rights” that tried to eradicate barricades to borrower/homeowners seeking to refinance or adjust home loans. The recording costs in the adjustment of a loan would be passed along unswervingly to the borrower as a cost of the contract. Consequently, distraught and low-income homeowners looking for relief under the Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBR) would have to pay recording fees enforced through this bill. Republicans and some of the Democratic lawmakers who were facing re-elections were, therefore, reluctant to support the bill. They were concerned about the use of government funds to address the issue (Murphy & Tolan, 2017). Notwithstanding receiving support from the California Association of Realtors, not all real estate players supported the bill. The bill faced opposition from the California Mortgage Association and California Escrow Association. The two organizations bodies argued that SB2 selects winners and losers in terms of who would pay. For instance, an employed individual facing foreclosure would be forced to remit the fee on those documents if they resolve to refund their mortgage. The bill creates a scenario whereby the employed, to keep their house, would pay the amount for other individuals to have a house.

Section 7

            Affordable housing in any nation is an essential element for sustainable community development and social justice. Lack of affordable housing has become a major burden to low-income earners. They are unable to balance between paying higher house rent and providing for other family needs, such as food, clothing, health and educational expenses. Therefore, affordable housing improves the life of disadvantaged individuals, as it enables them to cater for other family needs comfortably. Americans conventionally consider housing affordable if it costs 30 percent or less of their monthly income. To guarantee that communities have this option, social or public housing choices are important. Nonetheless, affordable housing goes beyond just low-income housing. It also involves the need to entail a broader understanding of housing options and the significance of other policy sectors for housing, for instance, the environment, transportation, and education. These sectors have a direct effect on the equity, sustainability, and social justice in communities. Therefore, housing is a social justice issue that the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act addresses. With high unemployment and low wages in the state that fail to meet the cost of housing, the requirement of affordable housing remains a major concern for Americans. Affordable housing builds diversity in the society. This, in turn, enhances economic development and social justice since all individuals are part of the larger society regardless of their religion, race or social construction. Furthermore, through the enactment of the law, the affordability will allow individuals to live in areas that are adjacent to their place of work and education, hence making transportation easy, as well as averting social concerns related to commuting. This process will reduce the urban sprawl of environmental concerns and other social issues facing the people of the United States leading to social justice.

A government entity, cooperative or other social associations owns public or social housing (Kalugina, 2016). The type of ownership that will be exemplified by the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act is esteemed for diversity; it will generate in the neighborhoods, cities, communities, and among employees, which will enhance social cooperation. Moreover, the social housing advantages created by the law will drive other public policies, for instance, health, education, and work that will lead to social justice. Overall, better social housing policies address the needs of marginalized communities, as a large population of families in California lacks access to affordable housing. Besides, the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act legislators are pushing for several other bills aimed at addressing the problem to enhance social justice.

            Housing and districts epitomize rich and underexplored areas to study policies employed by low-income householders who must live within the constrained budgets while also protecting families from safety hazards and other social injustices. Regardless of their usual nature and salience, there is little knowledge about families and their struggle with the hard reality of the society. Particularly, the current communities are struggling with social injustices and other issues, such as drugs and crime. Therefore, housing problems present a point of flux and frustration that touches on the fundamental aspect of family and social life. Therefore, the SB2- Building Homes and Jobs Act enhances social justice for families. Many facets of the social and ecological surrounding are concurrently being compromised, for instance, the quality of districts and resident institutions. Most communities are affected by elements of social injustices such as intense poverty, pollution, and violence. Nonetheless, families living in affordable and quality neighborhoods, as instituted by the act, can address such problems.

Section 8

            Though a classic meaning of affordable housing contrasts from one jurisdiction to another, affordable housing is considered to be one whereby the occupant pays less than 30% of income for the gross housing expenses, for instance, rent and utilities. Consequently, the population of individuals qualified to live in affordable housing units is varied. For example, homes at the national median in States like New York and San Francisco may be entitled to affordable housing in those cities because of high housing costs, unlike in other places. Chances are higher that the demand for cheaper houses will rise in the near future as the rental rates increases rapidly compared to domestic revenue. Individuals who are in need of affordable housing originate from different backgrounds. Therefore, the availability of affordable housing is not only good for the growth of the economy but also improves people’s standards of living. Consequently, lack of affordable housing necessitates the need for housing policies that support the advancement of affordable housing. Affordable housing development projects can result in lasting benefits for residents and the adjacent community. In order to manage the challenge of inadequate affordable housing, the United States needs to establish lasting strategies, seek support from political groups, and focus on implementing its housing policies aimed at increasing affordable homes (Non Profit Housing Association, 2017). States like California need to prioritize the recognition of mixed-income publics and ease for more social multiplicity within areas that have never coexisted in a family approach. Thus, to accomplish the housing project, both the government and individuals need to work together and support the policies established. Strategies and efforts at the personal and local levels must reflect the larger policies that will enhance affordable housing for all individuals. The achievement of this goal will enable the government to grow its economy without having to incur any debts, and it will boost its morale to engage in other areas of growth, such as education and health.

Conclusion

The goal of any nation, state, and community is to improve the health and the lives of the most disadvantaged populations. However, it would be unwise to overlook the crisis of affordable housing. Deprived physical conditions, affordability, and location are the scopes through which housing impacts the health and social wellbeing of populations. From a policy standpoint, eradicating the existing physical housing glitches that affect the poor is the topmost responsibility of any nation. Quality housing forms the greatest domain whereby progress among family members can be attained. The main challenge of providing affordability housing is more demanding, but the investment and provision of housing are unquestionably important and beneficial. However, any determination and policy to enhance the lives of the populations pose a significant impact not only on the beneficiaries but also to the economic and social aspects of the nation.

References

BOLLAG, S. (June, 2017). California Senate OKs Real Estate Fee to Fund More Housing. US News. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-07-06/california-senate-oks-real-estate-fee-to-fund-more-housing

Catalano, T. (March, 2017). Focus on Housing – Supply, Affordability, and Families. Retrieved from:http://www.reubenlaw.com/focus-housing-supply-affordability-families/

Freeman, L. (2002). America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: A Contract Unfulfilled. American Journal of Public Health92(5), 709-712.

Kalugina, A. (2016). Affordable Housing Policies: An Overview. Cornell Real Estate Review14(1), 10.

Matt Dangelantonio, (2017). The pros and cons of a recording fee for real estate documents. BUSINESS AND ECONOMY. Retrieved from: https://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2017/08/29/58847/debating-ca-senate-bill-that-would-charge-fee-on-r/

McKinsey Global Institute (October, 2015). A Tool Kit to Close California’s Housing Gap: 3.5 Million Homes by 2025. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/edu/Downloads/MGI-California-Housing-Affordability-Exhibits.pdf

Murphy, K., & Tolan, C. (2017). California Legislature passes affordable housing bills. The Mercury News. Retrieved from: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/14/california-affordable-housing-bills-are-finally-getting-a-vote/

Non Profit Housing Association, (2017). NPH Priority Bill 2017: Building Homes and Jobs Act. Retrieved from https://nonprofithousing.org/nph-priority-bill-2017-building-homes-and-jobs-act/

Tinnelly, S. J. (September 2017). California Legislature Passes the Building Homes and Jobs Act to Address the Affordable Housing Crisis. Retrieved from: https://hoalaw.tinnellylaw.com/2017/09/sb-2-signed-california-legislature-passes-building-homes-jobs-act-address-affordable-housing-crisis.html

US NEWS (2017). California Senate OKs Real Estate Fee to Fund More Housing. Retrieved from:https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-07-06/california-senate-oks-real-estate-fee-to-fund-more-housing