By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced the creation of a Housing Strike Force within the state’s Department of Justice.
The strike force will aim to address access to housing, affordability and equity across the state. It will focus on enforcing tenant rights and protections, issuing guidance letters to local governments on state housing laws and advocating with state legislatures to advance a right to housing, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office.
“California is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportions,” Mr. Bonta said in a statement. “Every day, millions of Californians worry about keeping a roof over their head, and there are too many across this state who lack housing altogether.”
The formation of the strike force comes at a time when housing and rent costs are skyrocketing for home owners and tenants statewide.
The majority of the state’s 17 million renters spend a significant portion of their paychecks on rent, and the state currently has some of the lowest homeownership rates since the 1940s. Currently, the median price of a single-family home in the state is more than $800,000.
In addition, the state continues to have a disproportionate share of the nation’s homeless, with an estimated 150,000 state residents sleeping in cars, in shelters or on the street.
“Our Housing Strike Force, along with the tenant roundtables and Housing Portal, will allow the DOJ to ramp up our efforts to tackle this crisis and advance housing access, affordability, and equity across California,” Mr. Bonta said. “This is a top priority and a fight we won’t back down from. As attorney general, I am committed to using all the tools my office has available to advance Californians’ fundamental right to housing.”
In addition to the strike force, the DOJ has launched a new housing portal with resources for homeowners and tenants across the state. The attorney general has also announced plans to host a series of roundtables across the state in the coming months to connect with tenant groups.