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AB-2837 UNITY Act: affordable housing software.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/20/2020 09:00 PM
AB2837:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2837


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk-Silva

February 20, 2020


An act to add Chapter 7.9 (commencing with Section 8699) to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to housing.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2837, as introduced, Quirk-Silva. UNITY Act: affordable housing software.
The Permit Streamlining Act, among other things, requires each state agency and each local agency to compile one or more lists that specify in detail the information that will be required from any applicant for a development project and requires a public agency that is the lead agency for a development project to approve or disapprove that project within specified time periods.
This bill would enact the UNITY Act (act), which requires the development of UNITY software for purposes of rapidly processing affordable housing applications on a single, shared platform, among other purposes. The bill would require, upon appropriation by the Legislature of no more than $5,000,000 in the Budget Act or other statute, a state agency to develop and implement, or procure a contract for a third party to develop and implement, UNITY software pursuant to the act. The bill would require the UNITY software to be developed in 3 phases, as described, within one year of appropriation by the Legislature. The bill would require the state agency or third party developing the software to collaborate with real estate developers when developing the software.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California is facing a housing crisis due to the lack of affordable housing and widespread homelessness at epidemic levels throughout the state.
(b) Affordable housing developers, owners, and operators in the City of Los Angeles have been subjected to the use of alarmingly outdated technology that ineffectively patches the affordable housing process together, ultimately slowing affordable housing growth.
(c) Currently, the existing processes for an affordable housing application require over nine separate submissions of duplicate information to various funding agencies across state and local governments.
(d) This act, the UNITY Act, would authorize, upon appropriation of the Legislature, the development of a coordinated software system to aid in preserving and developing new and existing affordable housing through a comprehensive and streamlined application process for collaborative funding among the state, cities, and counties.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 7.9 (commencing with Section 8699) is added to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER  7.9 Unity Act

8699.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the UNITY Act.

8699.1.
 The purpose of the UNITY Act is as follows:
(a) To establish a partnership between the state and its counties and cities to develop and implement a coordinated system, named UNITY, for the development and preservation of new and existing affordable housing across the state, county, and city levels.
(b) To develop UNITY software for the following purposes:
(1) Rapidly processing affordable housing project applications on a single, shared platform that provides tools for state and local agencies to prioritize at-risk populations, to monitor ongoing budget allocations, and to identify system bottlenecks in real time, thereby increasing transparency, accountability, and objectivity throughout the application process.
(2) Allowing distributions of state, county, and local funding to be based on demographic-driven data with the goal of creating a universal funding tool that will expedite the funding of new affordable housing developments and the preservation of existing affordable housing units via a single, shared platform.
(c) To encourage cities and counties to voluntarily implement UNITY software for the purposes described in subdivision (b).

8699.2.
 Upon appropriation by the Legislature of no more than five million dollars ($5,000,000) in the Budget Act or other statute, a state agency shall develop and implement, or procure a contract for a third party to develop and implement, UNITY software pursuant to this chapter.

8699.3.
 (a) The development of the UNITY software shall be completed in the following three phases:
(1) The first phase shall be for the development of a universal funding application for purposes of annually capturing basic corporate and financial information required for all affordable housing projects. This information shall include, but is not limited to, a statement of information, good standing, tax identification information, audited financial statements, project resumes, biographies, and financials. The application shall be developed in a manner that allows the developer the ability to enter relevant project information, including, but not limited to, architectural schematics, letters of support, address, and supportive service narratives, for multiple projects.
(2) The second phase shall be for the development of a tool for the execution of regulatory agreement, document management, real-time timeline management for construction, budget management, and draw down approvals, and the receipt of alerts regarding project bottlenecks.
(3) The third phase shall be for the development of a tool to address community outreach and to manage lease-up, wait-list management, fraud alerts, and assets for ongoing budget accountability by the developer.
(b) All three phases of the UNITY software described in subdivision (a) shall be developed within one year the appropriation by the Legislature described in Section 8699.2.
(c) The state agency or third party developing the UNITY software shall collaborate with real estate developers when developing the software for purposes of ensuring the software is effective for developers that may use or otherwise interact with the software.