Stabilizing Housing for Low-Income Seniors

During the darkest part of the Great Recession in 2009, a state-run program that was intended to help low-income seniors and the disabled pay their property taxes and stay in their homes was discontinued due to lack of funding. In Karen Lange’s work with the California Association of County Treasurer-Tax Collectors, and with the authorship of Assemblyman Rich Gordon, the approval of Governor Brown, and the leadership of then-Controller John Chiang, the program was revived in 2014, with enormous systemic improvements to ensure its solvency into the future. The collaboration between the Association, the author and the State Controller resulted in new oversight and screening tools which should insulate the program from any future cuts.

Each year, this program helps those facing hard economic times by ensuring they can avoid making the hard choice between paying taxes to stay in their homes and paying for groceries, medications and other life necessities. This program ultimately makes a modest sum of money for the state, stabilizes low-income seniors in their homes, and has the intangible benefit of allying the fear of losing a home due to lack of income. The program has been successfully operating again for several years, under the stewardship of State Controller Betty Yee, and it is an enormous point of pride for Karen to have worked to bring back a program that has such a direct impact on the quality of life for California’s seniors and the disabled.