Consider these startling and deeply disturbing facts.
One-third of renters in California spend more than half of their monthly wages on housing.
California accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s homeless, while 40 percent of the state’s voters have a close friend or family member who is, or has been, homeless.
Fifty-one percent of California voters say that, at today’s prices, they could not afford an average-priced home in their neighborhood.
And nearly two-thirds of voters have a close friend or family member who has moved away because California housing costs are too high.
This is the human face of a crisis we can no longer ignore. California’s housing shortage is so catastrophic in scale that it not only threatens our economic vitality, but also fuels inequality, poverty and domestic violence, and creates hardship for our veterans. With such a large share of household incomes devoted to housing, Californians are struggling to take care of their basic needs, such as food, medical bills and child care.
Is it any wonder that so many now believe the California dream is out of reach?
That is why I have joined with Advocates for Affordable Housing — a coalition of the building trades, developers and advocates for the homeless, seniors and special-needs Californians — to call for immediate, strong and sustained action to address this problem head-on. I am not talking about incremental steps or symbolic measures, but rather a major, long-term commitment of resources, not diluted by other priorities, but instead focused singularly on solving California’s housing shortage.
After the recent cap-and-trade deal was finalized, there was agreement between the governor and legislative leadership to come up with an affordable housing solution by the end of this session. A legislative solution to the affordable housing crisis would be the capstone on what is arguably already one of the most successful legislative sessions in recent history.