In Search of Solutions to Our Housing Affordability Crisis

Via Santa Monica Forward

Last week, Santa Monica’s Housing Commission published several draft reports on our city’s housing affordability crisis, laying out the scope of the problem and potential solutions.

Santa Monica Forward would like to reiterate its strong support for the production and preservation of affordable housing in our city. We would also like to thank the Commission for its efforts in researching, defining, and offering some solutions for Santa Monica’s dire housing affordability crisis.

While we appreciate the efforts on the part of the Commission to attempt to lay out a strategy for addressing our current housing crisis, we do believe the draft reports are lacking. Specifically, we should not downplay the vital role the city’s Affordable Housing Production Program has played in creating affordable homes in Santa Monica, and, we must look at the broader context and causes of the current crisis.

In the past year, President Obama has sought advice on how the United States, one of most inequitable advanced economies in the world, can once again be a place of opportunity for all.

A recent white paper by Jason Furman, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, a group selected by President Obama to analyze and interpret economic developments and advise him on issues of national economic importance, illustrated that throughout the country, local no-growth housing policies have been widening the gap between rich and poor by increasingly making it harder for middle- and low-income workers to access homes near quality jobs.

Furman’s findings were echoed by New York Times columnist and distinguished economist Paul Krugman recently. And, last year, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan State office based in Sacramento that provides fiscal and policy advice to state lawmakers, published a report that outlined, in great detail, the negative impact of decades of minimal-growth housing policies on our state’s coastal cities.

We continue to ignore the mounting body of evidence that restrictive zoning is exacerbating our housing affordability crisis at our own peril and — perhaps more importantly — the peril of future generations that will inherit a Santa Monica even more inaccessible than it is today, unless we make substantive changes to our housing policies.

Read the rest at Santa Monica Forward

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