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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Public Financing of Affordable Housing in the 21st Century: A Case Study of California’s Tax-exempt Bond Program and How It Serves California’s Most Populous County


Housing is one of the most important assets to any city or region. Without decent housing, children do not learn, parents cannot hold down jobs, and the physical health of families cannot be maintained. However, as housing markets have boomed, more and more families are shut out of the housing market. For low-income families, this does not simply mean the inability to buy a home. It means the inability to rent a basic apartment. This problem is exacerbated in the urban areas of America where low-income families congregate because of proximity to jobs and services, but where land is scarce and home values are particularly high.

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