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  • Daily Bulletin: Reports: Funding cuts leave Inland Empire short 137,000 affordable rental units

    Construction in June 2017 at the Park Place community being built in Ontario (File photo)

    Affordable housing advocates are blaming the 6-year-old elimination of California redevelopment agencies and other reductions in government funding for a near-137,000 unit shortfall in affordable rental housing across Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Two groups, the California Housing Partnership and Southern California Association of Non Profit Housing, released reports Wednesday, May 16 that outline the authors’ contentions as to how diminished public sector support for affordable housing has affected the Inland Empire. The reports also suggest renters earning less than the median income in either county may be spending roughly two-thirds or more of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads. Riverside County renters must earn at least $29.13 an hour, or about $5,000 a month, to afford a monthly rent of about $1,515. That amount is the median based on the authors’ survey of April postings on Craigslist.

     

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  • KTLA: California Voters Could Decide on as Many as 5 Housing Measures in November

    Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during an event at the National Press Club April 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)Gov. Jerry Brown’s embrace last week of a $2-billion bond to fund homeless housing could make for an even busier ballot in November. Should lawmakers agree to put the bond before voters, Californians could see as many as five housing measures on the November ballot. In addition to the homeless housing plan, backers of initiatives to expand rent control, increase Proposition 13 benefits for homeowners and finance the cleanup of lead paint in homes all say they’ve collected enough signatures to ensure their proposals can make the ballot. Lawmakers have already agreed to put a $4-billion bond to subsidize new developments for low-income residents and provide home loans for veterans before voters in November.

     

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  • Forbes: The “Meteoric Rise” Of Confusion About Housing Economics

    Two things struck me about a recent CNN story following controversy over the tax on jobs in Seattle that many want targeted at Amazon. First, was the headline. Meteors don’t rise, they fall. The other was the ease with which today’s folk economics (something I’ve compressed into the term, ‘folkenomics’) has penetrated every level of the discussion about housing in the United States. You see, according to folkenomics, companies like Amazon come to a town bringing jobs which then cause “meteoric rises” in prices. There is a correlation, they say, between the arrival of a company like Amazon rising prices. Watch out cities, they say, you’re likely to have the same thing happen if Amazon choses you for HQ2. Maybe ordinary people and even politicians could be excused for confusing correlation with causation.

     

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  • San Francisco Chronicle: Editorial: The Bay Area’s housing crisis has become an emergency

    Aimee Navarro, 10, holds up a sign during a January hearing on rental housing legislation in Sacramento. New studies show deepening inequalities in housing and wages in the Bay Area. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

    California’s housing crisis is centered in the Bay Area, and the region’s booming economy is increasingly inequitable and unsustainable. That’s the message of two recent studies by two very different organizations. State legislators and local officials shouldn’t need any more evidence to take urgent action. The first study, commissioned by a business-oriented San Francisco public policy group called Next 10, documents the state’s increasing inequalities in wages and housing, and sounds an alarm about the impact these stresses are having on the workforce. From 2011 to 2016, California added a net of just 209 new housing units for every 1,000 new residents. The study concludes that the major losers from this failure have been California’s low-income workers. While the number of low-income jobs in California has increased significantly over the past several years, the wages offered for those jobs has not.

     

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  • Affordable Housing Finance: Study Examines How Living in LIHTC Properties Impacts Residents

    Nearly 90% of residents reported that their housing had improved after moving into a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) development, according to a new study. “One in five respondents said that they had experienced homelessness before moving into their current home, and another 20% reported that they had been forced to move involuntarily, either as the result of eviction or an unsustainable rent increase,” says the report released today by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). In addition, 50% reported that they consistently worried about paying for rent prior to moving into their LIHTC unit, and 40% said they had either worried about paying for food or skipped meals as a result of their high housing cost burdens.

     

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  • The Economist: Faced with a housing crisis, California could further restrict supply

    “THE rent is too damn high,” read the signs brandished by tenant advocates at rallies held in late April in Oakland (median monthly rent: $2,950), Los Angeles (median monthly rent: $2,700), and Sacramento (median monthly rent: $1,895). The activists gathered, along with local politicians, to announce that they had collected the signatures necessary to include a proposal on California’s November ballot that would pave the way for cities to expand rent control. This, they feel, is the only way to mitigate the shortage of affordable housing in the state. The measure will seek to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a law passed in 1995 that places restrictions on local rent controls. It bars the 15 Californian cities that have them from introducing rent control in buildings constructed after 1995, and freezes previous municipal rent-control ordinances in place.

     

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  • Desert Sun: Housing vouchers fail to follow market trends

     

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  • City Limits: CityViews: We Need Innovative Designs—and Open Minds—to Solve the Housing Shortage

    We know that well-designed, quality housing that is affordable can help people move up and out of poverty, and it can play an essential role in impacting people’s health, economic empowerment, community resilience, and much more. Despite this, to build enough housing to meet the needs of the thousands of people who are housing insecure, we are constantly looking for ways to stretch diminishing financial resources. But good design and lower costs are not at odds; the housing design and production industry should be able to do both. In an era when nearly all consumer goods have dropped in price, the staggering growth in the cost of housing is hard to believe. From 1960 to 2016, real rents grew by 70 percent, while real renter incomes grew by only 10 percent. In the same period, the proportion of renters paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs (those who are “rent burdened”) nearly doubled. One in four renters spend half their income on housing. In other industries, we develop breakthrough cost-cutting solutions on a regular basis that actually increase product quality. Why haven’t we been able to do it with housing?

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  • LA Times: A single law is devastating the affordability of housing in California. Repeal Costa-Hawkins

    A single law is devastating the affordability of housing in California. Repeal Costa-HawkinsReal estate speculation and price-gouging are driving Californians to impossible commutes, overcrowded housing, and into the streets. According to a 2014 UCLA study, California is the least affordable state and Los Angeles is the least affordable city for renters in the nation. A third of Angelenos spend more than half their income on rent. When housing costs are factored in, one in four of us lives in poverty. By voting for the Affordable Housing Act ballot measure this November, Californians can restore the rights of cities to use a powerful tool to stop this escalating crisis: rent control. At a time when shrinking state and federal budgets can’t provide enough government-subsidized housing to meet our needs, rent control doesn’t require government funding. It takes years to build subsidized homes and decades for market-rate ones to become affordable; rent control can be implemented immediately. By keeping rent increases reasonable and protecting tenants from eviction, rent control builds strong and stable communities.

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  • San Jose Inside: Op-Ed: A David and Goliath Battle is Shaping Up in Sunnyvale Over Mobile Home Rent Stabilization

    Silicon Valley was once called the Valley of Heart’s Delight because of its fertile fields and wonderful weather. Times have changed for a large group of residents living in Sunnyvale. A David and Goliath battle is looming between some members of the Sunnyvale City Council, including its mayor, and their foes, a group of mostly retired mobile home park residents on fixed incomes who are being forced inexorably out of the city due to the council’s actions. The David in this scenario are the mobile home park residents in the city who make up 10 percent of Sunnyvale’s residents by some estimates. As the economy has continued to heat up the Sunnyvale council has approved a number of “conversions” of these affordable housing enclaves and approved large developments of high cost housing. The inevitable result is dislocation of the residents and a huge increase in the number of homeless in Sunnyvale. The situation boils down to a Goliath in the form of the mayor and some on the council who have taken campaign contributions from the premiere PAC for mobile home park owners as well as the California Apartment Association and the National Association of Realtors. The latter gave Mayor Glenn Hendricks a whopping $70,580 independent expenditure donation in the last election cycle in which he ran. All these organizations are opposed to rent control or rent stabilization in any form.

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