Fresh on the heels of a blunt report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) examining California’s housing affordability crisis, new jobs and census data put even greater urgency on the need for removing barriers to meeting growing housing demand in the Bay Area. The U.S. Census reported on Thursday (March 26) that the Bay Area is home to five of the fastest-growing counties in the state, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. That’s not surprising given that recent state jobs reports show that the Bay Area in 2014 added close to 120,000 jobs, almost a quarter of the total statewide.

The LAO report put the blame for California’s housing woes squarely on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), anti-development groups (NIMBYs) and onerous state and local fees and regulation. The report also attributed California’s nation-leading poverty rate to the housing problem. The Bay Area Council has long advocated for updating CEQA and is exploring new ways in which to reform this important environmental law. Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman on Thursday addressed these issues during an hour-long discussion with KQED Forum that focused on the Bay Area’s sizzling jobs and economic growth. To engage in our housing policy work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Listen to the KQED Forum discussion with Jim Wunderman on jobs and the economy>>

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