Bills seek affordable housing for college students

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A pair of bills have emerged in the Legislature this year to help California college students secure housing near campus without breaking their budgets.

Sen. Janet Nguyen

SB 922 by Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, focuses on turning surplus property near college campuses into housing for college students.

It would authorize the California Department of General Services to offer unused properties within two miles of any University of California, California State University or California community college to local governments or nonprofits for the construction of such housing.

Another bill, SB 1227 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would provide a density bonus to a developer who agrees to build housing exclusively for full-time college students, with 20 percent of the units reserved for lower-income students and provided at a specified rent level. A density bonus, provided in exchange for concessions such as the inclusion of affordable units, allows developers to build more housing in a particular project than would normally be allowed.

Sen. Nancy Skinner

“With California having some of the most expensive college towns in the country, students are hard hit by housing costs,” Skinner said in a news release. “Current law makes it harder to build housing exclusively for students and nearly impossible to include affordable units in that housing; my bill SB 1227 fixes that.”

The California Apartment Association is examining both bills as possible ways to address California’s ongoing housing shortage and its growing impact on students seeking a higher education.

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