Last time he was on the campaign trail, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised 3.5 million new homes to fix California’s housing crisis. Two housing reporters take stock of what he’s done so far.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is once again on the ballot, and while his reelection is all but secure, it’s as good a time as ever to take stock of the promises he made about fixing the California housing crisis when running for office four years ago.
Newsom campaigned on spurring a never-before-seen wave of homebuilding to reign in the housing affordability crisis.
“As Governor, I will lead the effort to develop the 3.5 million new housing units we need by 2025 because our solutions must be as bold as the problem is big,” then-Lt. Gov. Newsom wrote on Medium in 2017.
During his inaugural speech in 2019, Newsom went even further, announcing a “Marshall Plan for affordable housing,” evoking the multi-billion dollar program to rebuild Europe after World War II.
The rhetoric was lofty — but his performance was less impressive. As Newsom wraps his first term, just 13% of the 3.5 million homes he campaigned on building have been permitted, let alone built, and housing in California is more expensive than ever.
And yet, Newsom has accomplished a lot more than his predecessors. He signed a slew of laws that make it easier to build certain types of housing, he invested billions into housing and homelessness and has started to hold cities accountable for building their share of homes.
On today’s episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, housing reporters Liam Dillon, from the Los Angeles Times, and Manuela Tobias, from CalMatters, go deeper into what Newsom did and didn’t do. Liam draws from his expertise following Newsom early on in his campaign and into his first years and Manuela, brings us up to date with her recent reporting.