Newsroom

Newsroom

  • Forbes: We Don’t Need More Affordable Housing, We Need More Housing So It Will Be Affordable

    If we believe that cities provide economic opportunity, produce fewer carbon emissions per capita than urban sprawl, that cities are more energy efficient, that they have less impact on oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, that cities afford people of a wide variety of ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds to live close to each other and learn from one another, then we should believe that more people ought to be able to live in cities. That means we believe in more housing. If the number of housing units meets or exceeds the number of people that want and need them, those people have more freedom of choice, more mobility and more opportunity. It also means a smaller percentage of their income has to be spent on the basic necessity of shelter. There are two groups of people slow the production of more housing.

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  • East Bay Times: $6 million loan boosts planned Fremont affordable senior apartments

    Plans for a 90-unit affordable senior apartment complex got a major boost this week, as the Fremont City Council approved loaning the developer over $6 million to cover land and pre-development costs. The Irvington Senior Community Apartments are planned for a 1.4-acre site that formerly housed Roger’s Camping Trailers, at 4038 Irvington Ave., near the intersection with Fremont Boulevard. The apartments would be offered to people age 55 or older, who have experienced homelessness or who are veterans, according to a city staff report. It would also include supportive social services on site. The development is proposed by Allied Housing, the building and development arm of Fremont-based affordable housing provider Abode Services. While the project design is still in early stages, city development staff “is working closely with Allied to ensure that the proposed project meets all city design policies, guidelines and standards,” according to a staff report.

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  • KPCC: Life in this iconic mid-century suburb shows how California dreams are shrinking

    On the first day of sales in Lakewood in 1950, 25,000 people lined up to have a look. At the end of the first month, more than 200,000 people had flocked to the sales office, and more than 1,000 families had purchased homes. As many as 50 houses a day were sold, with a record 107 sold in one hour. With California’s problems of affordability and congestion, many of us are paying a higher price for an ever-shrinking sliver of California paradise. Even those lucky enough to be able to afford a home often do so at the expense of some of the quintessential perks of life in the Golden State. The downsizing of the California dream is readily apparent for Jenny Gov. In 2015, she and her boyfriend bought a home in Lakewood, a bedroom community near Long Beach that was once a classic example of the mid-century suburb and all that it offered — including easy access to good jobs, tight-knit community, the beach, the mountains and nearby Los Angeles. Gov and her boyfriend moved here seeking many of the same things tens of thousands of buyers before them sought in Lakewood, only today they’re paying a higher price and getting less.

     

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  • CityLab: Can Silicon Valley Disrupt How We Build?

    From the end of the Second World War until a few years ago, when it cooled off, productivity surged across the U.S. economy, giving rise to what’s often called the “productivity miracle.” From manufacturing to agriculture to retail, industry after industry became cheaper, faster, more mechanized, and more efficient. But the same can’t be said of construction. Productivity in construction has not only not risen, it’s actually lower now than it was in 1968. The way that most large buildings get built hasn’t changed much from 50 years ago. It goes by a deceptively straightforward name, “design-bid-build.” First, a developer or owner hires an architect, who comes up with a rough design. To flesh this out, the architect brings in consultants such as engineers and landscape architects, and sometimes niche consultants like food-service specialists.

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  • Next City: S.F. Housing Projects to Get $29 Million in Carbon Trading Windfall

    Two affordable housing projects in San Francisco’s Mission District are getting a $29 million boost thanks to grants from California’s cap-and-trade program, a pollution credit marketplace, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Staff at the city’s Strategic Growth Council have recommended that a 157-unit development receive $15 million and a 127-unit project get $14 million. The council must approve the grants, but “has historically gone along with staff recommendations,” the Chronicle says.  Building affordable housing is getting more expensive in an already historically expensive city. At the same time, financing models that affordable housing developers have traditionally relied on are shrinking. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, for example, has lost value after Congress’s tax reform bill, which has led to fewer companies competing for and thus driving up the price of the credits.

     

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  • Globe Newswire: LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents

    MG@W Exterior from bridge_news releaseWith more than 50,000 homeless in Los Angeles County, every new home matters. Today, LINC Housing joined with the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and other partners to celebrate the grand opening of Mosaic Gardens at Westlake, an all-new 125-home affordable apartment community near Downtown Los Angeles for households that have experienced homelessness, and low-income families and seniors. Jenise, single mom to a five-month-old daughter and five-year-old son, is looking forward to moving into her new apartment at Mosaic Gardens at Westlake. Raised in foster care from age nine, Jenise has struggled to gain housing stability. She lived with family and friends for a while, but eventually found herself homeless, living in her car and in hotels. “It’s hard to take care of your kids when you don’t have a home,” Jenise said. “I can’t wait to move into our new apartment. I hope to take more online courses so I can build a career in the restaurant industry.”

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  • Ventura County Star: Report details gap between rents, minimum wage

    A new report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the California Coalition for Rural Housing showed that working at the minimum wage of $11 per hour in Ventura County, a wage earner must have three full-time jobs to afford a two-bedroom rental. The typical renter in Ventura earns $17.19 an hour, which is $16.25 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom unit, according to the report, “Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing.” “This wage and housing disparity is acute here in Ventura County, especially given our local economy, which is largely dependent on agriculture,” said Margarita  De Escontrias, CEO of Cabrillo Economic Development Corp., a local affordable-housing organization. “The total crop value is over $2.2 billion dollars and is largely dependent on farmworkers. On average, a berry farmworker will earn $24,200 per year. Working families can no longer afford to live here, as they must earn $62,200 to afford a two-bedroom apartment.”

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  • The Guardian: ‘Facebook is taking everything’: rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families

    From left: Teresa Rivas, Sandra Zamora, Luis Carriel, and Eisabel Coronel are all facing rent increases from their longtime homes in Menlo Park. Sandra Zamora is quitting Facebook. Not because of Russian election interference, misuse of personal data or any of the social network’s other scandals. For the 29-year-old, it’s personal: Facebook is her neighbor, and the company’s presence, she said, is wreaking havoc on her community. Zamora is part of a group of Menlo Park tenants in four buildings facing massive rent increases from a new landlord, who is pricing out longtime residents while advertising the buildings’ proximity to Facebook’s campus. Zamora is holding out as long as she can. But she knows she will soon have to leave her home of 11 years, and she doesn’t know where she will go. “Facebook is taking everything we have … and giving us what? Nothing. Just pain in our lives,” said the pre-school teacher and restaurant worker, seated inside her dimly lit apartment, a mile from the company’s headquarters. “Facebook is just ruining the community.”

     

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  • SF Weekly: Supervisors Could Fast-Track Affordable Housing Projects

    As the city battles a housing and homelessness crisis, affordable housing projects could soon receive a VIP pass through the development pipeline. The Board of Supervisors next week will vote on an ordinance that would fast-track affordable housing projects through the lengthy Planning Department process. Mayor Mark Farrell introduced the bill in April to continue the September 2017 executive directive Mayor Ed Lee issued to expedite housing projects. “We cannot let red tape and bureaucracy prevent us from helping our families and residents,” Farrell said in April. Projects that build 100-percent affordable housing would have priority processing, like nixing a review hearing before the Planning Commission. Such projects would also be able eligible to request exceptions to parts of the Planning code that require window exposure and access to open space. A notice 20 days before the date of a hearing or approval would become the standard to reach owners, residents in the immediate area, and neighborhood organizations by mail as well as through online notices and notices posted on a given site.

     

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  • Modesto Bee: Will stronger rent control spread across California? Here’s what you need to know.

    California voters are set to vote this November on an initiative that would allow California cities and counties to adopt stronger rent control laws, which limit how much landlords are allowed to raise rents each year. The Secretary of State’s office reported last week that initiative backers have enough valid signatures to qualify it for the Nov. 6 ballot. Christina Livingston, a tenants’ rights activist and one of three main proponents behind the initiative, said the coalition collected nearly 600,000 signatures in total, while 365,880 valid signatures were needed to qualify. “They were so easy to collect because the severity of the housing crisis is broad,” Livingston said. “Low-income people and working class communities are experiencing it, not just in coastal cities but in the Central Valley — everywhere in California.”

     

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