Bradbard Housing/Homelessness Q2
Although the lack of housing stock and high demand for housing in SoCal is widely recognized, a lessor-known factor in the cost of increasing affordability is the high cost of building in the State of California. As we take steps to increase the development of additional housing units across the region, the conversation must include the disproportionately high burden of fees levied by the state and local governments, which studies have placed California at as much as three times the cost to build in other parts of the country. High fees and restrictive building restrictions not only impact the cost to build, but also the cost to consumers in both purchase and rental prices. CEQA, or the California Environmental Quality Act, must also be seriously evaluated in order to prevent misleading law suits solely intended to slow or stop new development. Not only do these law suits reduce the pace of adding new needed housing units, but again, they can result in increased costs for legal fees and as the building timeline is extended.
Additionally, according to a recent study by the California Housing Partnership, 79% of low-income households are spending more than half of their income on housing costs, and renters in LA County must earn three times the minimum wage to afford the median monthly rent. Clearly, the conversation around housing affordability must also consider employment opportunities, workforce preparation, and the expansion of middle-income jobs that allow a family to maintain a suitable apartment or home where their children can thrive. And, looking at demographic trends, we know that the silver tsunami is hitting our country as baby boomers are retiring and aging. For low-wage earners, maintaining stable, affordable housing into their later years will continue become a greater issue and needs to be introduced into today’s housing conversations as we anticipate future needs.