“In this follow up to California’s High Housing Costs, we offer additional evidence that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low-income Californians. Existing affordable housing programs assist only a small proportion of low-income Californians. Most low-income Californians receive little or no assistance. Expanding affordable housing programs to help these households likely would be extremely challenging and prohibitively expensive. It may be best to focus these programs on Californians with more specialized housing needs—such as homeless individuals and families or persons with significant physical and mental health challenges. Encouraging additional private housing construction can help the many low-income Californians who do not receive assistance. Considerable evidence suggests that construction of market-rate housing reduces housing costs for low-income households and, consequently, helps to mitigate displacement in many cases. Bringing about more private home building, however, would be no easy task, requiring state and local policy makers to confront very challenging issues and taking many years to come to fruition. Despite these difficulties, these efforts could provide significant widespread benefits: lower housing costs for millions of Californians. “
Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing
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