Californians Addressing Affordable Housing with $300 Million “Robin Hood” Plan, Including Manufactured Homes, ADUs


In response to the more than 5,000 homes destroyed in the October firestorm, stakeholders and county supervisors are pushing for a $300 million housing bond to be placed on the November ballot,” says Sonoma West.


The plan would include funds to upgrade or replace manufactured homes, or could be used for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which are often prefabs or modular.

A survey indicates 71 percent of voters support the November ballot measure.

Other CA jurisdictions have passed similar measures. “There’s a tremendous need county wide for affordable housing,” Lynda Hopkins said. “After the catastrophic fires the need only intensified.Lynda Hopkins is the Fifth District Supervisor, and spoke to the Sebastopol City Council.

Sonoma County is near the red-hot Bay area housing market.

Supervisors are expected to consider a formal vote to put the bond on the ballot sometime in July. The Press Democrat reports 5,300 homes were destroyed in the fires that hit their county, and likewise devastated other parts of the state last year.

Sonoma West says the funding would come from, an increased “tax rate of $19.53 per $100,000 of assessed value, with a term of 26 years and a assumed interest rate of 4.56 percent, according to a working draft of the bond,” thus the term Robin Hood tax, taking from ‘richer’ property owners, and giving it to others. 

Whatever position the county takes, wouldn’t a more accepting use of manufactured homes on infill and other sites offer a private sector solution to the problem?

Out of this came a desire for a cross-jurisdictional, regional approach to addressing our affordable housing crisis,” Hopkins said.

Supervisors approved efforts to place the bond on the ballet during their April 17 regular meeting. Later that day, Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins spoke to the Sebastopol City Council to encourage feedback and support.


There’s a tremendous need county wide for affordable housing,” Hopkins said. “After the catastrophic fires the need only intensified.”

Sonoma County officials said similar affordable housing bonds in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have successfully been approved by voters. Hopkins said the county received positive feedback from a formal poll they undertook as part of the housing bond initiative several months ago.

In the poll, 71 percent of responders gave positive feedback to a proposed housing bond of more than the current $300 million proposed bond.

Out of this came a desire for a cross-jurisdictional, regional approach to addressing our affordable housing crisis,” Hopkins said, adding – ”This is in many ways a Robin Hood tax, where those with high-assessed property values are going to be contributing hugely to this bond.”

The county’s issues are a microcosm of what is happening in the nation’s most populous state. Housing affordability is perhaps the most pronounced in California. So on the one hand, it is encouraging to see manufactured homes being considered in this mix.

At the same time, CA is several ways, one of the more NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard – states.

As a consequence of NIMBY, “In 2016, according to the 2018 housing assessment of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the state faced a shortfall of more than a million units for households earning between 50% and 120% of the median…” income.

If 1/3 of that million unit shortfall was filled by manufactured homes over 5 years, it would be an a huge increase over the 13,898 homes HUD Code manufactured homes sold in the that state in the 6½ years since August 2011 through February 2018.

It’s a clear example of obstacles and opportunities. The same needs exist in numerous markets from Hawaii to Boston, MA, or from Alaska to Florida. According to the researchers in the related report linked below, the choking off of affordable housing is costing the nation some $2 trillion dollars a year. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Report:

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

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