Affordable housing is a major issue in California’s big cities and now it’s a state-level public policy issue with Governor Jerry Brown stepping in. In his new budget, Brown has proposed streamlining the permitting process for housing developments that include affordable units. The governor also supports a measure that would use some funds earmarked for mental health to build housing. Los Angeles is one of the least affordable cities in the US, and has the nation’s largest homeless population. Could state-level efforts make a difference?