Solving the Housing Crisis Is Key to Inclusive Prosperity in the Bay Area

Published: 2018 | Sarah Treuhaft with Jessica Pizarek, Ángel Ross, and Justin Scoggins | Policylink


The twin forces of a housing shortage—particularly affordable housing—and uneven wage growth have converged to create a regional crisis. Between 2011 and 2015, the Bay Area added 500,000 jobs but built only 65,000 new homes. As high-wage knowledge-economy workers bid up the cost of homes, low-income families have been pushed into deep housing and economic insecurity, and out to the edges of the region and beyond. More than six of every 10 households are now at risk of displacement, according to the University of California–Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project. And despite the booming economy, 3.2 million residents are economically insecure and do not have enough income to make ends meet. Though the housing crisis is far-reaching, it has hit low-income communities of color the hardest, exacerbating longstanding racial inequities and threatening the region’s social and cultural vitality.