SACRAMENTO – Fourteen major California veterans groups today announced their opposition to the November ballot measure financed by Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Health Foundation that would repeal significant portions of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and undermines the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation.
The groups include: American Legion, Department of California; AMVETS, Department of California; AMVETS Service Foundation, Department of California; Association of the U.S. Army, Northern California Chapters; Association of the U.S. Army, Southern California Chapters; Cesar E. Chavez Sacramento Chapter of the American G.I. Forum; Filipino-American United States Marines Association; Jewish War Veterans, Department of California; Marine Corps Veterans Association; Military Officers Association of America, California Council of Chapters; Reserve Organization of America, Department of the Golden West; Scottish American Military Society – California Chapters; Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council; and the Women Veterans Alliance.
The groups say the measure would hurt existing homeowners, and those who are struggling to find affordable housing – including many men and women who served in the armed forces. A similar measure, defeated overwhelmingly by California voters in 2018, also was strongly opposed by veterans groups.
“Veterans already face difficulties securing stable and affordable housing, and measures like the Housing Freeze promise to deepen veterans’ housing affordability concerns. American Legion, Dept. of CA looks for balanced solutions that keep veterans in their homes without compromising construction of new housing. That’s why we opposed the nearly identical Proposition 10 in 2018, and why we urge our veterans to once again vote no on this initiative in November.” – Ed Grimsley, Commander, American Legion, Department of California
This measure would make the state’s housing crisis worse, and create new hurdles for veterans, seniors and other vulnerable populations, housing experts say.
Housing affordability is still a major concern for veterans—over a third of veterans pay too much for their housing, and nearly two-thirds of homeless veterans in California are living unsheltered, the highest numbers in the nation. Over 70% of veterans are homeowners and will suffer reduced property values of up to 20% should this initiative pass; senior veterans on fixed incomes that rent out their homes for supplemental income will lose their ability to decide their own price for their property. The Housing Freeze does nothing to help our most vulnerable populations because it fails to target those most in need, say experts.
The state’s legislative analyst and leading economists from UC Berkeley and USC have warned that passing restrictive measures like this could lead to more housing being taken off the rental market, cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost property tax revenues and slow the construction of new development to meet our state’s need for more units. Local governments’ revenue loss impacts the services that veterans and seniors rely on – such as programs run by the County Veteran Service Officers, who are funded by local county revenue.
Here’s what other veterans groups are saying about why they are opposing the Housing Freeze initiative:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic pain for millions of Californians, and has hit veterans particularly hard. California voters have already spoken out on this issue. Our state’s housing crisis needs real solutions, not the false promises contained in this initiative. The Weinstein initiative will make housing less affordable for all Californians and make it harder for veterans to find housing for themselves and their families.” – David Black, State Commander, AMVETS, Department of California
“Just like his nearly-identical initiative that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters two years ago, the new Weinstein initiative will make housing less available and less affordable for veterans and all Californians. It will create chaos in our housing market and reduce property values for homeowners robbing them of their nest eggs they are relying on for retirement. It’s the wrong solution for the wrong problem and a bad deal for veterans and for California.” – Melissa Washington, CEO & Founder, Women Veterans Alliance