Together with education and job creation, safe, decent and affordable housing is critical to fostering vibrant communities as the backbone of a healthy California economy. Because the cost of housing is remaining so expensive in California, housing choice is increasingly constrained: over half of renters and one-third of homeowners pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing. With the highest home prices in the nation, a significant number of Californians are denied the opportunity for home ownership — the state ranks second to last in the rate of home ownership. Even more alarming, the dearth of affordable multi-family rental product means that working families increasingly live further away from jobs – putting a strain on our transportation, education, and health, and enabling development patterns that are not at all environmentally sustainable. Increasingly, our children are being displaced by virtue of insurmountable housing costs — causing a drain in our educated workforce and putting the state’s economic future in doubt.
With California’s jobs-housing imbalance exacerbated each year by overlooking opportunities for infill development convenient to job centers and transportation services, CHC’s efforts are all about increasing housing choice in the state. We seek to increase the production and preservation of affordable housing in California. In advocating comprehensive land use planning and permanent public funding to address the steady growth of our state, CHC is also committed to encouraging environmentally sustainable building practices and energy efficient solutions to enhancing housing affordability.
CHC Education and Advocacy Efforts
Given the complexity of the California housing need, a multi-phase and multi-year approach is necessary to change the housing landscape within our state. The following policy approaches are recommended to help improve the development environment and boost affordable housing production in California.
1. Create Housing Solutions
- Ensure that affordable housing remains affordable. Increase efforts at the state level to preserve the existing stock of federally subsidized housing.
- Expand multifamily housing in all communities. State fiscal policies and housing efforts should promote a full range of housing, including multi-family rental housing in all communities.
- Raise California’s home-ownership rate. California has the second lowest home-ownership rate in the nation. Efforts to expand home-ownership should focus on private sector partnerships. State leadership can play a key role by convening financial institutions and major employers to urge them to participate in successful home-ownership approaches.
2. Find Permanent Funding Options
- Pledge investment in people and their homes by redirecting state-funded sources to affordable housing dollars. A permanent housing subsidy source could be linked to housing-related revenues.
- Expanding successful housing programs. While the state-allocated tax-exempt bond and low-income housing tax credit programs have been expanded, they are still heavily oversubscribed and should be targeted for further expansion.
3. Focus on a Fundamental Need for Californians
- Set shared state housing priorities through increased coordination by all of the state’s housing finance agencies. Reduce red tape in programs.
- Communicate successes by having the State play a highly visible role in promoting housing solutions.
4. Do More; Housing Alone is Not Enough
- Integrate child care and job training at home by making funds available so that affordable housing developments include space for necessary on-site social supports, including child care and job training.
- Foster stable, self-sufficient living through more supportive housing.