Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly.
California’s housing crisis continues to get a lot of bad press — from all over the world, and especially here at home. That’s one of the big reasons why last week I chose to headline a special issue on the state’s housing crisis. I talked to people, held public hearings, sat in on a debate about the best way to address the state’s housing crisis, toured housing projects, and dug deep into the state’s housing records. Yet I found overwhelming support for the proposals I saw, and, ultimately, it was clear that Californians are on the side of change, and the state is on the side of the people.
California housing isn’t perfect, and I didn’t have answers for every question, but the people I spoke to said, “We want to help.”
And they want to help the most: their own families.
You can read our in-depth conversations here in this special series. But the most encouraging takeaway can be summed up in this one little quote from a reader: “The problem with the current system is that it doesn’t meet the needs of the people who are living here. In California, a $250,000 dollar house is considered luxurious. We need affordable housing” by “those who actually want to live here.”
That wasn’t a question I asked, but it’s the sentiment I heard from the people I talked to.
Our state has a $1.3 trillion housing crisis. By one estimate, as many as 400,000 renters are stuck in housing they can’t afford. Meanwhile, the state’s homeless population doubled from 2000 to 2010. Last year, the state’s Department of Public Health reported that half of homeless people live in “substandard or overcrowded” housing, and nearly all are in San Francisco. That’s a city that is experiencing a housing crisis so severe that it’s considering the elimination of its historic homelessness provision, which would have been the largest in the nation.
What are we doing?
California’s lawmakers have worked over the past three years to create and improve housing policies.
Last year, they passed a bill that would provide additional funding to address the state’s housing crisis, which would provide up to $20 billion of additional funding