Addressing California’s Housing Crisis
Our state is facing a serious housing crisis. Families are being pushed out and priced out. Too many of our teachers, firefighters and police officers cannot afford to live in Santa Clara County. Our children can’t afford to buy a home, or even rent, where they grew up.
In fact, just 16% of residents can afford to buy a home in Santa Clara County. We must do better than this and be bold and creative in finding solutions to this problem.
There are too many barriers preventing the development of affordable and middle-income housing. All levels of government have to work to reduce the bureaucracy and outdated rules that often stand in the way of building homes. We should streamline the permitting process by assigning a state agency to produce environmental impact reports and oversee CEQA enforcement. This will ensure that new projects, including affordable housing, are not delayed.
I support workforce housing, such as this project in Mountain View, especially for local teachers and first responders. As the cost of housing continues to soar, we must ensure that those who make our cities function can actually live in, or near, the communities in which they work.
17,000 “affordable” apartments were built in San José, but less than 10% are for extremely low income (ELI) households. Many seniors, and people with disabilities, who don’t have incomes tied to AMI are struggling — some pay over 50% of their incomes on rent. Residents who are on a fixed low income desperately need housing they can afford. When we talk about increasing our housing supply, ELI housing must be part of the conversation.
The Covid-19 emergency is also an opportunity to help recover from our economic downturn by building the new housing we need in California. Building this new housing will help create middle class jobs now and has the potential to lift millions of families out of poverty. California has the highest effective poverty rate in the nation largely because of our high housing costs. Building and creating the up to 3 million new homes and apartments we need now will lower the price of housing and rents, bring jobs near housing which will improve our lives and the environment and create immediate jobs in the construction industry. We must seize this moment to create jobs, lower housing costs and improve our quality of life.
All my life I have believed that a cornerstone to strengthening our democracy is involving people in the policy-making process. We need more community input on solving this crisis that impacts every part of the state. I will work to ensure that more voices are heard in our state government.