Growing affordability crisis is focus of Southern California Housing Summit

610 200 Fred Silva

(Photo Credit: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

With housing supply continuing to fall far below demand—driving home prices and rents beyond what millions of Californians can afford—the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will bring together several hundred local government leaders from the Southland for a California Housing Summit this week. The goal is to develop strategies for expanding investment in affordable housing and accelerating development of all types of housing near transit and jobs.

“There is no single answer to the complex problem of the region’s housing supply,” said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG’s executive director. “That’s why we’re bringing together experts from across the state to discuss the many things it will take to address these issues—from new fiscal incentives that ensure communities benefit from approving housing to regulatory changes that will make it easier to build.”

At Tuesday’s Summit, a statewide group of homebuilders, planners, and city officials will discuss the housing shortage’s root causes, new ideas for funding housing and associated infrastructure, strategies for building in the right places without displacing existing residents, and tools for engaging communities opposed to housing development.

Affordability in the Southern California region has taken a big hit as the median home price has climbed above $500,000 and around 44 percent of the area's households pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

CA Fwd and the California Economic Summit will be partnering with SCAG on the event, highlighting the potential for fiscal policies that can encourage local agencies to approve housing and fund the infrastructure needed to support it. Leaders in the California Economic Summit will participate in several discussions on potential funding sources including the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program and fiscal tools such as Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts and Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities.

Expert panelists will also explore strategies for integrating state, regional and local planning policies including Transit Oriented Developments, Transit Ready Developments, housing preservation, and inclusionary zoning.

The event will also feature discussions about how CEQA and NIMBY opposition to housing impacts the region, with a group of panelists tackling “myths” about the negative impact of developing more housing—and showcasing projects that have earned community support and successfully moved the needle on local housing supplies.

At the conclusion of the event, there will be a “Call to Action” for local leaders to adopt a strategy of community involvement and stakeholder partnerships that will ultimately lead to “YES” to housing.


Fred Silva

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