New reports released today by the California Housing Partnership (in collaboration with local and regional housing organizations) document the dire conditions facing low-income renters in seven Bay Area California counties - Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma - and recommend policy solutions to State and local elected leaders.
"These reports show that while a few Bay Area counties that passed local affordable housing funding measure have made progress, most of the rest are still suffering from huge losses in State and Federal funding making it extremely difficult for them to meet their need for affordable homes" said Matt Schwartz, President and CEO of the California Housing Partnership. Schwartz adds: "Which is why we need the State to provide critical missing tools by (1) replacing Redevelopment funding the State took away in 2012; and (2) lowering the voter threshold for passing local affordable housing measures from two-thirds to 55% as was done for education in 2000."
Report highlights include:
- Four counties lost more than 80% of state and federal funding since 2008.
- Solano County lost 90% of its State and Federal funding since 2008 without any local efforts to replace these lost resources.
- Sonoma County, where thousands of lower-income households lost their homes during the wildfires and continue to be displaced, lost 88% of its Federal and State housing funds in the past decade.
- Contra Costa County lost 82% Federal and State funding since 2008.
- Alameda County lost 80% of its State and Federal funding since 2008, though there are signs of improvement in production since voters approved Measure A1 in 2016.
- In Napa County where affordable home production has come to a halt, housing prices are driving costs of living out of reach for lower-income households.
- In Contra Costa County, which has seen a 70% decline in affordable housing production since 2016, 79% of extremely low-income renters spend more than half of their incomes on housing costs.
- Even with significant recent increases, minimum-wage earners are still priced out of Bay Area housing markets:
- In Marin, workers must make 5.1 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
- In San Mateo, workers must make 4.5 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
- In Napa, workers must make 3.9 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
- In Sonoma, workers must make 3.7 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
- In Alameda, workers must make 3.6 times the minimum wage to afford current
- asking rents.
- In Solano, workers must make 3 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
- In Contra Costa, workers must make 2.9 times the minimum wage to afford current asking rents.
In order to address these housing emergencies, the reports recommend policy solutions for State and local leaders to take action on, including:
- Replace Redevelopment funding for affordable housing with at least $1 billion annually to help local governments meet their State-mandated production goals.
- Expand the State's Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program by $500 million per year to jumpstart affordable housing production and preservation.
- Create a new California capital gains tax credit to preserve existing affordable housing at risk of conversion and to fight displacement pressures in Opportunity Zones.
- Reduce the threshold for voter approval of local funding of affordable housing and infrastructure from 67% to 55% as was done for educational facilities in 2000.