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Four Pillars For Housing Affordability: Moving Beyond Sacramento’s Third Rail

“Here are four pillars on which to build and retain affordable housing:

  1. We need public options for housing
  2. We need to help fund down payments and closing costs for first time homebuyers
  3. We need to help fund move-in costs, security deposits and first months rent for renters, and to have stronger tenant protections
  4. We need to level the playing field, minimize the manipulation of our housing markets by speculators, and ensure that the standard unfair competition and business practices principles apply to housing”
The Great Wall Street Housing Grab

Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.

Santa Clara County says it’s had 95% success in preventing homelessness at $4,000 per household … Read More

The top elected leaders of city and county government and heads of two social service nonprofits said Thursday that a small homelessness prevention program in Santa Clara County with just 21⁄2 years of operational history has had remarkable success, and they want more taxpayer and business support to expand its impact.

“There’s no doubt the approach embodied in Senate Bill 50, which failed for the third time last week, will be central to the discussions, but so will alternatives. One affordable housing group that opposed the bill has developed a sweeping outline for legislation that focuses on assisting first-time homebuyers and renters while changing laws to discourage real estate speculation that some believe is part of the problem.  Better Way CA, based in Oakland, has proposals for middle- and low-income housing, homeless shelters and revolving funds to help homebuyers, renters and developers who build affordable housing.”

 
SB50 Is Dead Again, So Can We Get Back To Helping The Middle Class?

“Which means that California is NOT against affordable housing, or more housing, or better housing. It just means that the citizen advocates, and the local city/county political leaders who opposed SB 50 don’t want to be crazy-made, or gaslighted, by the fools, tools, and ghouls who wanted to help developers but do anything BUT make more affordable housing.”

Reasons Why California Cities Are Unable to Pay For Costs Of Density Development

“You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, and I think that applies to local government and housing. The reason that adage is so punctuated in California is because every city manager and city council is dealt a set of cards that makes it hard for them to play the housing card.”

Wall Street In My Backyard

 “The largest owner of residential real estate and single-family homes in California is the private equity firm, Blackstone—the investment firm identified by the UN as a leading force driving displacement and homelessness around the world through the financialization of housing markets and predatory rental practices.”

Interactive Maps Graphically Show How Wall Street Has Driven Up Housing Costs

“Presenting interactive data on corporate homeownership in California and providing invaluable context to the state’s affordable housing crisis, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project identifies all rental properties in California owned by major Wall Street investment firms. The project also includes data on Ellis Act evictions and illustrates the influence of corporate landlords in California’s housing markets. Please explore the full interactive map here.

Massive Developments Threaten Pubic Safety Services

“More. Bigger. Higher. These are the words crammed into the press releases of Silicon Valley’s largest employers. The pace of development is startling. It all sounds so exciting, but we should temper that excitement and realistically examine the impacts of development.”

Bay Area Oligarchs Facebook’s Zuckerberg And His Wife Are Funding SB 330

“Some of CZI’s biggest grantees are promoting policies that, stated intentions notwithstanding, will inflate land values, boost rents, and force many of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable residents out of their homes, while instituting and reinforcing undemocratic forms of governance that benefit Big Tech and Big Property Capital.”

Facebook Money Pushes Chiu Housing Bill (AB 1487)

Enterprise Community Partners staffer Geeta Rao, speaking in support of the measure, brandished an ECP report that she had co-authored, “The Elephant in the Region: Charting a Path for Bay Area Metro to Lead a Bold Regional Housing Agenda.” That document and Enterprise’s other efforts in behalf of a regional housing entity make explicit what every version of AB 1487 has left implicit: The pro-growth regime sees the bill as an opportunity to…”

California’s Attack On Local Governments

“It’s amazing how few Californians realize that California’s State Legislature is declaring war on its cities and counties with punishing legislation that is currently pending hearings. Their excuse: the state’s housing crisis which the state is wrongly blaming local governments. Their “cure:” robbing cities and counties of their local control and self-determination that are the reasons for their very existence.”

Oregon Just Effectively Banned Single-family Zoning

“It legalizes duplexes in cities of more than 10,000, including the Portland metro area. In cities of more than 25,000 and within the Portland metro area, it would legalize triplexes, fourplexes, attached townhomes, and some “cottage clusters.” The bill leaves few towns in the state where single-family zoning is still operable.”

Senate Bill 330: Complicates Development But Does Not Solve Housing Challenges

The bill is complex and is bound to other laws including the Housing Density Bonus Law.  SB 330 would take away significant authority from cities and counties, reducing their review and approval powers over developments that shape their communities. This shift is reinforced in three ways…”

Say It Ain’t So, Mayor Garcetti: The Sale Of Los Angeles By A Native Son

“In April, AB 1197 was amended to apply SOLELY to the City of Los Angeles, NOWHERE else in the State of California.  That meant that a shelter or supportive housing facility proposed on the east side of La Cienaga Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles would be exempt from CEQA review while one proposed on the west side of La Cienaga Boulevard in Culver City or Beverly Hills would be subject to a full CEQA review. “

California’s 3.5 Million Housing Shortage Number Raises Questions

“California has a housing shortage, and the State Legislature has called for construction of 3.5 million homes by 2025. However, how do we reliably determine how many homes California needs to build? The State number is based on a study that uses New York as a benchmark. But is New York the right benchmark?”

LA’s 50 Year Break Up With Comprehensive Planning

“Nearly every element of LA’s General Plan is out-of-date. They have different adoption dates, different base years, different horizon years, different formats and typefaces, and different policies. What they have in common, though, is a lack of implementing programs, monitoring systems, and periodic updates… “

Most Expensive Cities Worldwide To Rent An Apartment

“Hong Kong and San Francisco are the only two cities on the list where the average two-bedroom rent exceeds $3,000. San Francisco is one of four US cities that make the list of the top 25 global cities with the most expensive rent, along with New York, Boston, and Chicago.”

Last Black Man Standing In San Francisco

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a film fable about the most controversial city in the US. The drama presents a San Francisco that is prospering economically, but is in decline as a city of culture and opportunity. This is mostly due to its lack of affordability—the median home value in San Francisco is now almost $1.4 million, according to Zillow.”

Los Angeles Shrinking Even As Larger Region Still Grows

“Los Angeles is just not growing,” said Richard Green, director of the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. “A lot of [the reason] is housing, and not just the cost of housing but the number of houses that are available. Vacancy is incredibly low.”

 

“Brilliant analysis of the current housing debate.”  Dr. Michael Storper is a Distinguished Professor of Regional and International Development in Urban Planning; Director, Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Michael Storper received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2008. He was elected to the British Academy in 2012 and received the Regional Studies Association’s award for overall achievement as well as the Sir Peter Hall Award in the House of Commons in 2012. In 2014 Storper was named one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters. He holds Ph.D. in Geography from University of California, Berkeley.

URBAN TRANSPORTATION

NOTE: SB 827, SB 50 and other density housing bills in the State Legislature are using proximity to rail and bus transit lines as the justification for increasing apartment construction near these routes. But rail and bus ridership is plummeting, even as cities are pouring more billions into building rail lines, and dedicated busways.

A Critical Review Of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan

“Metro’s attempt to accomplish too much too fast has a high likelihood of making transit in Los Angeles County worse for transit riders and other users of the local surface transportation system. The implications are worst for the most vulnerable group: the very large number of low-income and otherwise disadvantaged residents who are strongly dependent on public transit in their daily lives.”

L.A.’s Bus Riders Are Suffering. Rail Spending Is To Blame

“L.A.’s bus problems are more than anecdotal. Over the past decade, ridership and service levels have dropped dramatically.”

LA Rail Riders Slipping Through the Tracks: Decline Estimated at 42%

 “Metro has a history of over-promising and then failing to deliver on such projects, ultimately making conditions worse for Los Angeles transit users… most astoundingly, ridership, measured by “boardings,” has fallen as more rail has been opened…”

RADIO

Are LA’s new luxury apartments just sitting empty?

What is SB 827 and will it destroy single family neighborhoods?

What the density housing bill might do to historic neighborhoods.

“California faces a housing crisis. So a bill in the state legislature aims to get lots of housing built — by overriding local zoning control. It is called SB50; its author is State Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco…  The bill is a variant on last year’s SB 827, also authored by Wiener. That bill failed and already LA City Councilmembers have signalled their opposition to SB 50 by a 12-0 vote.
One the groups most concerned with the bill’s possible impacts is homeowners in Historic Preservation Overlay Zones, or HPOZs. There are 35 of them in LA and they protect the planning and architectural character of neighborhoods with a high number of historic houses.”

PODCASTS

The Anonymous Companies That Buy Up Homes
 

TELEVISION

PBS: Miami Residents Priced Out Of A City Built For The Rich

Miami is one of the worst cities in the U.S. to live in when it comes to affordable housing, and residents pay among the highest share of their incomes on rent. But a recent plan endorsed by the city would pave the way for creating 12,000 affordable housing units by 2024.”

BOOKS

Capital City: Gentrification And The Real Estate State – by Samuel Stein

(Verso, NY, 2019; www.versobooks.com)

“Our cities are changing. Around the world, more and more money is being invested in buildings and land. Real estate is now a $217 trillion dollar industry, worth thirty-six times the value of all the gold ever mined. It forms 60 percent of global assets, and one of the most powerful people in the world – the president of the United States – made his name as a landlord and developer.

Samuel Stein shows that this explosive transformation of urban life and politics has been driven not only by the tastes of wealthy newcomers, but also by the state-driven process of urban planning. Planning agencies provide a unique window into the ways the state uses and is used by capital, and the means by which urban renovations are translated into rising real estate values and rising rents.”

ANTI-GENTRIFICATION ORGANIZATIONS

Crenshaw Subway Coalition

The Crenshaw Subway Coalition seeks to be a vehicle for advancing community involvement in the Crenshaw-LAX Light Rail Project and Crenshaw Boulevard development process through engagement, education and empowerment, and by promoting social, economic and racial justice. To that end, the organization has three specific objectives as it relates to the Crenshaw-LAX Light Rail Line, the largest public works project in the history of South Los Angeles:

  • Ensuring the project is built in a manner requested by the community.
  • Ensuring the project is built by the community.
  • Ensuring the economic projects that are a product of the rail line and Crenshaw corridor development is community-driven and based on principles of local economic empowerment.

Through the empowerment of Crenshaw Corridor stakeholders it is our hope and belief that we can reverse the unfortunate history of transportation projects being built through, but not for our communities, and establish a powerful basis for pursuing community-driven development predicated on local ownership and economic empowerment.”

HOLDING CITIES ACCOUNTABLE

Lawsuit Filed Against Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC)

“The City of Los Angeles (the “City”) has willfully ignored its own mandatory policies created to provide for the availability of adequate infrastructure and public services and to maintain the quality of life for City residents.  This lawsuit seeks compliance with the City’s self-imposed mandatory policies included in the creation, approval, and adoption of its General Plan Framework Element and its Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) and mitigation measures.  In the City’s own words, its policy “requires that the type, amount, and location of development be correlated with the provision of adequate supporting infrastructure and services,” (GPF FEIR Section 2.10.5.1) and that “allowable increases in density through community plan amendment would not occur until infrastructure and its funding was available.”

Fix The City

The City of Los Angeles (the “City”) has willfully ignored its own mandatory policies created to provide for the availability of adequate infrastructure and public services and to maintain the quality of life for City residents.  This lawsuit seeks compliance with the City’s self-imposed mandatory policies included in the creation, approval, and adoption of its General Plan Framework Element and its Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) and mitigation measures.  In the City’s own words, its policy “requires that the type, amount, and location of development be correlated with the provision of adequate supporting infrastructure and services,” (GPF FEIR Section 2.10.5.1) and that “allowable increases in density through community plan amendment would not occur until infrastructure and its funding was available.”

TENANTS RIGHTS

Housing Rights Center (HCR)
L.A. Tenants Union
Coalition for Economic Survival

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