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Lack of Affordable Housing

Lack of Affordable Housing: Causes and Consequences

The Tuolumne County Association of REALTORS@ are aware of the consequences of California’s mounting housing affordability crisis. This affects individuals and families by diminishing homeownership and quality of life, It is also driving out our young working families and inhibiting our ability to grow our economy by depriving it of much needed skilled workers.

The affordability problem largely stems from an inability to build rental and for sale housing on a scale commensurate with our population or economic needs. We need a deliberate and concerted effort to address this challenge.

First, we need to remove state and local barriers to development. This would include reforming California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) at the state level, while still maintaining environmental standards to streamlining the permitting approvals at our local/municipal level. Governor Brown and our Legislators recognize this. Last year Governor Brown introduced a bill under which proposed housing developments that meet local zoning requirements and would reserve some homes for low income residents which would be exempted from additional environmental or local government review. There are also several bills in Sacramento that recently passed the Senate to minimize entitlement obstacles and increase funding for housing.

Second, we need to address public opinion as it relates to responsible development and new housing. “Not in my back yard” (NIMBY) attitudes and lawsuits are a huge impediment to needed investment and development. A lack of supply results in a lack of affordability.

Third, more education is needed so our residents understand sound planning principles, home financing options and positive public engagement.

California and our local leaders can also address some of the unintended consequences of policies that have been enacted.

Affordable housing is the challenge facing the state and our local community. While daunting, it is not insurmountable. We need to get serious and act now.

2017 President of The Tuolumne County Association of REALTORS®
Adam Wilson