You Could Be a Joint Homeowner–With the State of California

PUBLISHED JUN 15, 2022 12:00 A.M.

  Photo by Julie Hotz for CalMatters


Much has been made about the persistent disagreement between Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers over how to put money back in the pockets of Californians reeling from high gas prices and the rising cost of living, but what about addressing the state’s perennial problem — housing?

Don’t worry, there are disagreements there, too.

The $300 billion placeholder budget lawmakers approved Monday lays the groundwork for a plan to boost homeownership among lower- and middle-income Californians and in communities of color by providing first-time buyers most or all of the money they need for a down payment in exchange for partial ownership stakes in those residences, CalMatters’ Alejandro Lazo reports. Participants would eventually repay the money into a self-sustaining loan fund.

Championed by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, the “California Dream for All” program would be funded by issuing revenue bonds of $1 billion a year for 10 years, and is expected to help about 7,700 borrowers annually.

Newsom, however, hasn’t signed off on the proposal. And while some industry groups support it, other experts warn of potential complications.
The California Homeownership Coalition, a group that includes the California Association of Realtors, the California Building Industry Association and Habitat for Humanity: “These funding solutions are especially important for communities of color still facing disproportionately low homeownership rates because of decades-long discriminatory housing practices.”

Andrew Caplin, a professor at New York University who wrote a book on shared equity programs: One concern is that politicians may feel pressured to not demand repayment and “in the end, it will all be agreed that we can’t really collect the money — like student loans.”

Meanwhile, as California awaits comprehensive figures from this year’s point-in-time count of the homeless population — the first since the pandemic ignited in early 2020 — the state is rushing to prevent more people from losing their homes.

California’s housing department on Tuesday announced an expansion of its federally funded mortgage relief program, a move that could help tens of thousands more residents keep a roof over their heads. Under the loosened eligibility requirements, homeowners earning at or below 150% of their county’s area median income can now apply for relief of as much as $80,000 if they missed at least two payments prior to June 30, 2022, and are currently delinquent. Meanwhile, Californians who own their home outright or have up-to-date mortgage payments can receive as much as $20,000 to cover overdue property taxes if they missed at least one payment prior to May 31, 2022.

So far, the program has paid more than $68 million to nearly 2,000 homeowners, according to state officials.
Meanwhile, California’s pandemic rent relief program is facing at least two lawsuits, including one that alleges its botched implementation has put tenants at increased risk of eviction and homelessness.

Read “You Could Be A Joint Homeowner–With the State of California” on CalMatters. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

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