Coronavirus Will Make California’s Affordable Housing Problems Worse, Experts Say
Liam Dillon with the Los Angeles Times outlines why the coronavirus pandemic will likely make affordable housing problems worse in California.
Millions of residents were already facing severe cost burdens because of rent that has outpaced income growth at a time when overall housing production has remained low.
From 2000 to 2018, the median annual cost to rent an apartment or home in California increased 40% while incomes have gone up only 8% after adjusting for inflation, according to a new analysis of U.S. census data by the California Housing Partnership Corp., an advocacy organization. These trends have contributed to a shortage of 1.3 million homes for low-income families, the analysis found.
Nevertheless, Matt Schwartz, the organization’s president and CEO, said there have been some encouraging signs.
Compared with prior years, the shortage of low-income homes had stabilized and the construction of new homes had increased, the analysis showed. Moreover, spending on housing development is increasing, chiefly through the $6 billion in state funding that voters approved in 2018.
But now Schwartz worries that the economic effects of the pandemic will ruin that progress.
“It may swamp all of the state and local voters’ best efforts to ramp up production — unless there’s a really big federal and state response now,” he said.
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