Bay Area housing authority coming?

A new bill is being introduced in Sacramento which would create a first-of-its-kind housing authority that would have the authority to put fees and taxes on ballots throughout the Bay Area. While specifics were not clear, the authority could target everyone from developers to property owners to employers. The goal is to raise $1.5 billion which would go to affordable housing construction, acquiring land for housing projects, providing emergency rental assistance, etc.

Many local cities expressed concern as the bill could take up to 20 percent of future property taxes. Smaller cities and towns worry that they will be excluded from the benefits of the housing authority.

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The Bay Area: Goings & Comings

Sure, housing in the Bay Area is outrageously expensive – the median home price is now about $900,000 and a six-figure salary is now considered “low income” in San Francisco – but there are other reasons why some residents leave. And, interestingly, compelling reasons why some ultimately return. The San Francisco Chronicle has been running an interesting series entitled “The Grass is Greener” which includes some of these highlights:

  • Besides housing, other reasons some leave the Bay Area: pricey childcare, traffic, dirty streets, car break-ins, taxes
  • Reasons why some return: quality of the Bay Area people, politics, weather
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California Ranks 49th in Housing Per capita

According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, California ranks 49th in the country for housing per capita. Only Utah ranks lower.

The report went on to say that California must build close to 4 million units by 2025 to house the anticipated population.

California currently has 358 housing units per 1,000 people which is considerably lower than than the U.S. average of 419.

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Return of California’s Redevelopment Agencies?

.Seven years ago, during the height of the recession, Governor Jerry Brown eliminated an urban renewal program billions of dollars annually for economic development and low-income housing.

Given the state’s current housing crisis, many lawmakers believe it’s time to bring it back. While much of the money which previously had gone to redevelopment has been funneled to other worthwhile projects such as schools, many feel that it’s time to re-invest in low income housing.

Most analysts agree that this is not likely to happen during Governor Brown’s final year in office but many are looking to a new administration in January to get something done.

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