Blog Press Release: YIMBY Action Celebrates Governor Newsom Signing SB 423, SB 4, and AB 1633 into Law

YIMBY Action celebrates Governor Newsom’s announcement that he has signed SB 423 (Wiener), SB 4 (Wiener), and AB 1633 (Ting) into law. These bills will be transformational in getting more housing built in California, including affordable housing.

Oct. 11, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO - YIMBY Action celebrates Governor Newsom’s announcement that he has signed SB 423 (Wiener), SB 4 (Wiener), and AB 1633 (Ting) into law. These bills will be transformational in getting more housing built in California, including affordable housing.

YIMBY Action members proudly supported these bills throughout the legislative session by lobbying members of the Senate and Assembly. Activists sent over 1,376 letters of support, made phone calls, and educated their communities.

SB 423 extends SB 35 (Wiener, 2017), which has proven to be one of the state’s primary mechanisms for building affordable housing. This bill has helped approve at least 18,000 affordable homes by making it easier to approve projects in cities that are not compliant with state housing production requirements. SB 423 would also expand SB 35, ensuring that California increases its production of all types of housing in areas that badly need it.

Additionally, SB 423 contains a provision that ensures San Francisco is held accountable for keeping up with housing demand. Under SB 423, San Francisco’s housing progress will be measured every year, instead of every four. And because San Francisco hasn’t met its housing goals, projects of all types will be approved by-right. This will significantly speed up the process and make it significantly easier to get housing – at all affordability levels – built.

Under SB 4, (the Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act also known as Yes in God’s Backyard), religious organizations and nonprofit colleges will be able to pursue affordable housing development on their properties, regardless of local zoning restrictions. This bill also guarantees that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) cannot be used to derail these projects.

Many jurisdictions use CEQA to delay housing projects by requesting unnecessary environmental reviews. AB 1633 is a straightforward solution that will end local governments’ abuse of CEQA by creating a 90-day time period for cities after which they can be challenged for a bad-faith delay of a housing project related to CEQA.

“SB 35 has been a game changer for California’s housing crisis, and the Legislature just supercharged it,” said Senator Wiener. “California’s housing shortage is at the heart of so many challenges the state is facing, but the passage of groundbreaking laws like SB 423 sends a clear message: we are committed to turning the tide.”

“We applaud the signing of SB 423,” said Jane Natoli, San Francisco YIMBY Organizing Director. “For too long, San Francisco has promised it can find the right way to speed up housing production and create objective standards for new housing projects despite all evidence to the contrary. SB 423 will ensure that San Francisco makes good on the promises it has made to Sacramento to address its housing crisis seriously by adding more frequent review to ensure we are either on track or the state can step in to expedite streamlining."

“Without a doubt, housing affordability is the most destabilizing issue facing Californians,” said Danny Curtin, Director of the California of Carpenters. “Working families, struggling from paycheck to paycheck, are staring homelessness in the face. We applaud Senator Scott Wiener for his persistent and determined work attacking California’s housing crisis, specifically this year by authoring SB 4 and SB 423. We deeply appreciate and thank Governor Newsom for his signature on this year’s major housing legislation. We’re proud to have played a role in this effort.”

“SB 4 creates a powerful new tool that harnesses the mission of our religious institutions and colleges to address the homebuilding needs of our state,” said Abram Diaz, Policy Director for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. “This law unlocks over 171 thousand acres of land strictly for affordable housing production, creating a game changing opportunity to house more veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and other community members who need support. This is California policymaking at its best, by designing solutions that empower our community leaders to direct their resources to solve our most pressing problems. We are proud to partner with Senator Wiener and our coalition of over 300 supporters on this issue and applaud Governor Newsom for signing this bill into law.”

“This year’s housing package takes bold action on the housing shortage crippling California,” said Laura Foote, Executive Director of YIMBY Action. “With each of these critical bills, we are making a statement about the need for more homes. With the permit streamlining in SB 423, we are saying yes to more homes today. Passing these bills demonstrates California's commitment to addressing the chronic, debilitating housing shortage - but we know that legislation will not be enough. Too often the intention of these bills is chewed up in local implementation. YIMBY Action and our grassroots advocates will continue the fight to ensure these important housing accountability laws are fully implemented, and California finally delivers in its promises of housing for all.”