California Attempts to Tackle Affordable Housing Shortage

California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills recently in an effort to deal with the major affordable housing problem in California. The state needs approximately 1.5 million additional apartments and homes to adequately deal with need from the ones out of the price range of the soaring market. Governor Brown signed a total 15 bills in the costly city of San Francisco, where the need for affordable housing is extremely acute. The average rent for a single bedroom apartment in San Francisco is over $3000, and the average price for a house is around $1.5 million.

The 15 bill package took several months of bargaining and negotiating, and it was finally passed by the California lawmakers earlier in September. The legislative package is designed to funnel money from a new real estate transaction fee and a ballot initiative to subsidize low-income and affordable housing projects and repeal some regulations that have caused construction to move much slower in certain areas.

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and the California State Senate leader Kevin de Leon were part of the large crowd of housing advocates and lawmakers that cheered Governor Brown as they stood on the nice lawn of a new low-income housing complex in San Francisco where the bills were signed. The specific area of San Francisco is known as Hunter's Point. It is known for being an area riddled with crime and impoverished. The city hopes the new bills and complex will transform Hunter's Point to an affordable, low-crime housing area.

California has struggled to meet its housing unit demands, and the difference between rental and home prices between the state and the rest of the country is alarming. Average home prices are twice as much in California as they for the rest of the country, and rent prices are 50 percent higher. The housing demands in coastal cities like San Francisco are particularly problematic. In order to keep up with demand, the state has to build over 100,000 more affordable units yearly, according to a report done by the Legislative Analyst's Office. The 15 new laws will only help the state build up to 90,000 new units over the course of the next decade.

The state does have a problem among residents though. There is a culture dubbed "NIMBY", which stands for "not in my backyard". Although a majority of residents seem to favor affordable housing, the culture is still very hypocritical when it comes to putting low-income individuals in the area of standard market homes.

The original article can be found in its entirety here.

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