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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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  • NBC Los Angeles: Here’s How Much You Need to Earn to Afford Rent in California

    It is a known fact that California is one of the most expensive states to live in, and according to a new report, it takes three full-time minimum wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom rental home.  The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently published an extensive report on the high cost of housing, breaking down just how much it takes to live comfortably in the Golden State.  Californians need a hourly full-time wage of $32.68 to afford a two-bedroom rental home, according to the report published June 13. This figure makes California the second most expensive state, right behind Hawaii at $36.13 an hour. On average, renters in California make an hourly wage of $21.50 an hour, which is 41.2 percent lower than the necessary hourly wage to afford the cost of living.   Statistics show that 119 work hours per week at minimum wage are needed to afford the same two-bedroom rental — which is equal to three full-time minimum wage jobs.

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  • Sacramento Bee: Isn’t Sacramento richer if you can afford to live here? She’s fighting to make it so

    What if Sacramento joined San Francisco in the dismal category of pricing working class people out of decent housing? If that happened, Sacramento would lose what has always been a strength. The ability to rise above difficult circumstances through safe, stable housing has made Sacramento a better community. Safe, stable housing has been a gateway to the middle class for many Sacramentans. If Sacramento lost that gateway, it would lose generations of human potential. It might lose future community leaders who experienced struggle but rose above and then felt the call to give back to their community.  Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn is in this category. So are City Council members Angelique Ashby, Eric Guerra, and Steve Hansen. The list is long of Sacramentans who grew up in less than affluent circumstances, or were single moms trying to support themselves, or college students sleeping in their cars, or young people whose parents or guardians were on public assistance. Hahn, Ashby, Guerra, Hansen and many others fit these descriptions.

     

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  • WSJ: Philadelphia’s Affordable-Housing Plan: a Tax on New Buildings

    Philadelphia’s City Council is weighing a proposed 1% tax on construction to raise millions of dollars for affordable-housing programs, marking the latest push by a U.S. city to address rising residential costs. The council could pass the new tax this week, setting up a possible showdown with Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, whose administration warns the levy would hurt the city’s competitiveness as it vies to land Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters.

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  • Senate Committee Approves Robust Funding for Affordable Housing in FY19

    The Senate Appropriations Committee voted June 7 to approve a draft fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bill that provides robust funding for affordable housing and community development programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  For more details, read NLIHC’s full analysis and see our updated budget chart. The Senate bill builds on the 10% increase in HUD funding that advocates and Congressional champions secured in FY18 by providing $1.8 billion in new resources in FY19. Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $12 billion more than the president’s FY19 request and more than $1 billion above the House bill. In doing so, the Senate Committee clearly rejected the calls to drastically cut housing investments – in the form of funding cuts, harmful rent increases, rigid work requirements, and de facto time limits – proposed by the White House and members of Congress.

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  • SF Business Times: Berkeley rejects fast-track approval for 260-unit housing project

    A Berkeley apartment project that has been stalled for five years experienced yet another obstacle, not qualifying for fast-tracked approval under new legislation the developer hoped to utilize. The city of Berkeley told developer West Berkeley Investments in a letter this week that its 1900 Fourth St. project — 260 housing units over a parking lot on Fourth Street in West Berkeley— does not apply to SB 35, which looks to expedite permitting for projects that are 50 percent affordable housing units. The site, city officials say, is a designated city landmark and thus the law is not applicable. The project was California’s first development to attempt to use the 2017 law to speed up their approval process. Still, SB 35 remains controversial. While proponents call it a necessary measure to address the Bay Area’s housing shortage, opponents worry the law overpowers city procedures and will result in inappropriate development.

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  • Business Insider: A San Francisco startup charges renters almost $1,300 a month to live in converted living rooms — and it’s so popular it’s expanding to 5 major cities around the US

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    In San Francisco, a bedroom at one of the city’s luxury apartment dwellings for $1,290 a month is, all things considered, a steal. A startup called HomeShare offers just that. But there’s a catch: Your bedroom might be located in the living room. Founded in 2016, HomeShare leases apartments in expensive new buildings and splices them into additional units, so more tenants can split the rent for less per person. A two-bedroom becomes fit for three after HomeShares installs an upholstered partition in the den, with rents in San Francisco starting at $1,290 per month. The company announced on Monday that it’s expanding to five markets — San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles — thanks to new partnerships with major real-estate developers. The launch comes on the heels of a $5.7 million seed funding round, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, in January.

     

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