As poll after poll finds that housing costs are driving Californians to pack up and move, a new survey paints a detailed portrait of the anti-growth mindset that has been widely blamed for the short supply of homes underlying the problem. What the survey found surprised veteran pollster Mark Baldassare: Nearly two-thirds of adults in California — and 70 percent in the Bay Area — favor building in their cities to meet the need. “Obviously we asked this question because Californians are so often associated with NIMBY-ism, Not in My Backyard, but maybe because we’re at such a crisis point with housing costs that so many people recognize that it’s a problem — and for so many people it is a problem for them,” said Baldassare, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, the San Francisco-based nonprofit that conducted the poll.
Three of San Francisco’s largest residential projects have been stalled by months of infrastructure approval delays, another obstacle in the push to alleviate the city’s housing shortage.
The projects, Parkmerced, Schlage Lock and Treasure Island, are at three different corners of the city and collectively contain more than 15,000 housing units, including thousands of affordable units.
Despite winning Board of Supervisors approvals years ago, each project has grappled with various technical approvals required by the city, according to developers, city officials and building permit documents. None have started construction on their housing phases, despite previous schedules calling for work to start by this year.
. . . A source, who works on one of the three projects, said there are “fundamental disagreements” between city agencies about project details, such as the shape of a driveway or the design of a building façade. That’s led to numerous delays.
More than half of California voters say the state’s housing affordability crisis is so bad that they’ve considered moving, and 60 percent of the electorate supports rent control, according to a new statewide poll.
The findings from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies reflect broad concerns Californians have over the soaring cost of living. Amid an unprecedented housing shortage, rents have skyrocketed and tenants have faced mass evictions, especially in desirable areas.
“It’s an extremely serious problem,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo. “People are being forced to consider moving because of the rising cost of housing – that’s pretty prevalent all over the state.”
Of the 56 percent of voters who said they’ve considered moving, 1 in 4 said they’d relocate out of state if they did.
Trevor McNeil and Sarah Montoya, both 35, would love to buy a home in San Francisco, but like many young couples, they make too much money to qualify for a below-market-rate unit and too little to afford a market-rate one.
So for now, they are stuck in their one-bedroom, third-floor walk-up apartment in the Sunset District, with twin boys who were born in January and a 2-year old girl. When one is crying, it’s hard to get the others to sleep, but the hardest part is taking the kids out. Their landlady won’t allow strollers in the lobby, so they have to lug a double and a single up and down two flights of stairs or put their daughter on a leash — something Montoya thought she’d never do.
Housing is expensive for everyone in the Bay Area, but it’s especially challenging for middle-income buyers. Most new supply is at the high or low end. The gap in between is often called “the missing middle.”
The major components of a legislative package aimed at addressing California’s housing affordability crisis cleared their biggest hurdle late Thursday night when the Assembly passed six bills in a tight vote. Legislative leaders had previously negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown over measures to generate money for low-income housing development, fund housing programs and streamline the approval process for new projects. But Democrats in swing districts hesitated for weeks to pass one funding bill that could be described as another tax hike, after earlier this year raising the gas tax and renewing a climate change program that could also increase prices at the pump.