Good things are happening! California takes the first steps towards universal housing, the IRS pursues major corporations, America gets a new energy grid and rejects a controversial pipeline, and killings drop nationwide.

Housing Gets Social

Earlier this month, California passed legislation that would set in motion the first potential towards a transformative version of mixed-income public housing. Organizers hope that it will help provide affordable shelter on a large scale and meet the state’s housing crisis.

On October 7, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the Stable Affordable Housing Act of 2023, which commits the state to produce a formal study and recommendations on so-called social housing. The resulting California Social Housing Study, to be produced by the state’s housing agency, will provide recommendations to the legislature on the matter in 2026 and identify “public agencies or mission-driven nonprofit entities” that could help manage the process.

Social housing, which is a much more common concept in Europe, is different than public housing. In the United States, public housing is usually available to only low-income families at very subsidized rates, and concentrated in poverty-stricken areas. Social housing brings together mixed-income communities and is often embedded in developments with other social institutions like schools or economic centers. Social housing is built on publicly-owned land and funded by government money, but then handed off to private companies under public control.