council pushes for legislative action on housing crisis

As the Bay Area Council gears up to drive action in the Legislature this year on California’s housing crisis, a new report out this week provides more damning evidence about the depth and breadth of the problem. The California Housing and Community Development report – California’s Housing Future: Challenges and Opportunities – found that the state on average is producing 100,000 fewer housing units annually than we need, a problem that has persisted for decades. Millennials and lower-income households have been hit hardest, as the scarcity of housing has pushed home prices and rents into the stratosphere and brought home ownership to its lowest level since World War II. The report found that the housing crisis has reduced economic opportunity, contributed mightily to the state’s nation-leading poverty rate and undermined California’s climate goals by pushing workers further from job centers. It came on the heels of an opinion piece by Council CEO Jim Wunderman that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle and called for political leadership to make 2017 the year California’s solves its housing shortage.

The Council is meeting now with key legislators on several bills aimed at speeding the creation of new housing, which is the only solution that can address the problem at scale over the long haul. The Council is looking to build on the momentum it gained in sponsoring major housing legislation approved last year that eases the path for homeowners to build in-law units. That law authored by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski took effect on Jan. 1, and the Council estimates that it could generate 150,000 affordable units in the Bay Area alone. To engage in our housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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