Bailey Housing/Homelessness Q1
There are many complexities in the growing homeless crisis, a lack of diverse housing options is one piece and frankly a piece a city has the most influence over. This is why I have focused my efforts to date heavily on increasing the housing stock and building partnerships to reduce the costs associated with production. It takes approximately 2-3 years to bring a housing project from concept to occupancy, so while our expansion efforts are critical, the outcomes of this work will take some time. But the city must be, and is, focused on a combination of long and short-term connected solutions.
A lack of affordable housing is driven by many factors, including inadequate production, excessive fees and burdensome processes, rises in labor and material costs, and federal housing subsidies that aren’t keeping pace with actual rents. With that said, homelessness is way too complex to be attributed to any single factor and we recognize that we can’t build ourselves out of this crisis.
It should be noted that a lack of affordable housing is not just a homeless issue. Within the city of Riverside, wages have increased and employment is high, allowing some Riversiders to buy housing despite high prices, but many hardworking people still can’t earn enough money to afford a market-rate place to live. This creates a negative impact on the rental market, which traditionally has impacted lower earners, but now impacts young and entry level professionals, as well as seniors retiring in our community, who can’t afford housing. We must continue to push for diverse housing options, because the people struggling to pay rent today will become the homeless individuals and families of tomorrow.