The high cost of housing in California burdens renters, aspirational homeowners, businesses seeking to recruit and retain talent, and worsens climate change by encouraging long commutes and migration to states with greater per capita greenhouse gas emissions. To make housing more affordable, California needs to build enough housing to satisfy a growing population.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) estimates that we need to double our statewide housing production to 180,000 new homes annually. HCD notes that the “housing supply continues to not keep pace with demand, and the existing system of land-use planning and regulation creates barriers to development.” These local barriers to development have created a state where more than half its tenants are rent-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing. While low-income Californians face the greatest hardship, more than one-third of middle-class renters are rent burdened too.
Current law permits local governments to engage in “opportunity hoarding,” whereby they restrict access to economic and educational advancement by preventing developers from building enough homes to meet housing need. Barriers to home building include density limits, onerous impact fees that only permit the construction of luxury housing, and convoluted and capricious housing approval processes. The Bay Area is the greatest engine of economic opportunity in the United States. The top 2 places where poor kids have the best shot at earning a high salary are San Jose and San Francisco. To increase access to opportunity, we need to build more homes in Southern California, the Bay Area and throughout job-rich coastal California.
California YIMBY will advance a suite of bills in 2018 to get California building again. Specifically, we will advocate for laws to permit dense housing near transit and reduce housing impact fees that make home building economically infeasible. CA YIMBY will also address financing solutions for new home building, enforcement of state housing laws, reporting requirements for housing law compliance, fixing Regional Housing Needs Allocation procedures, and streamlining the housing approval process.
Long term, we intend to tackle California’s dysfunctional tax system, epitomized by Proposition 13, which reduces the incentive for cities to permit home building and drives generational, economic, and racial inequality.
THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW
The state legislature will not solve the housing crisis unless a grassroots movement demands it. Fortunately, the YIMBY movement is growing, the Governor wants to solve the housing crisis, key legislators are willing to lead on housing, and powerful players in Sacramento like labor unions, environmental groups, and business coalitions, including tech, are getting on board.
California YIMBY will help local YIMBY groups grow their grassroots power, coordinate advocacy efforts among YIMBY groups and allied organizations, forge alliances between the YIMBY movement and other constituencies harmed by the housing shortage, and lobby elected officials to pass pro-housing bills. Together, we will end California’s housing shortage.