The Key To California’s Housing Crisis? Build More Affordable Housing.

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Every family in California deserves a safe, affordable place to call home. Working families, single parents and young people should not be forced to choose between paying rent or buying groceries each month. Our seniors deserve a home where they can access social and medical services. 

But throughout the state, cities are facing a housing shortage of unprecedented levels, and housing is more expensive in California than almost anywhere in the country. In 2015 statewide cost of a home in California was $437,000, more than twice the cost in the US as a whole. High home prices and rents have become barriers for working families, students and young people, making it impossible to save for the future and often forcing parents into inadequate housing conditions for their children. 

Because too many teachers, first responders, municipal workers and other members of the workforce can’t afford to live in the cities they work, the housing shortage forces many people to commute two, three or more hours each day, which robs them of time with their families and also increases carbon emissions, further threatening our ability to combat global warming. 

It’s crystal clear - California is in a housing crisis.

What is the solution?

We must build more affordable homes across California. To do this, the state must provide resources to build housing for low-income residents, including permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness, and apartments for low-income individuals and families. We must also adopt policies at the state level to streamline the planning and entitlement process, and allow projects to move forward as efficiently as possible. We must also provide resources for environmental protection. As California grows, we must also take concrete steps to permanently protect California’s most ecologically sensitive areas. 

I spent over 18 years delivering housing for working families in the Sacramento region, and I know first-hand that affordable housing is the foundation of healthy communities. It increases economic security, stabilizes society, and allows for people of all income levels to live near family, and job opportunities.

It also helps grow our state economy.

It will take leadership, from all stakeholders, to set ambitious goals to build more housing, and work together to achieve them. Delivering more housing is an extremely complex issue – but the alternative is simply not acceptable. For California and the Bay Area to continue to be an engine of opportunity and social mobility, we frankly do not have another choice.

Serina Patterson