Showdown shapes up in California over growing housing crisis

By Alicia Victoria Lozano at NBC News

December 10, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Immediate relief from California’s affordable housing crisis may not come next year even though a series of new laws is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, advocates and experts warn.

Efforts are already underway to undercut legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Opponents say the housing laws strip cities and counties of control over zoning and do not ensure that new units will be affordable.

 “We absolutely need to advocate for affordable housing,” said John Heath, a proponent of Our Neighborhood Voices, a proposed constitutional amendment that would undo several of the newly signed housing bills. “This is nothing but a blank check being handed to developers.”

But the alternative, say those who support the new laws, is to maintain the status quo that for generations has allowed cities to create their own housing plans, often favoring single-family residences that contribute to the shortage.

The debate illustrates how entrenched the problem is and why it has been so difficult to fix. While the new laws do not mandate building more homes that low- and middle-income earners can afford, simply increasing the housing stock will help ease the pressure, experts said.

“It took a long time for us to get into this hole, and it’s going to take a long time to get out,” said Michael Manville, an associate professor of urban planning at UCLA. “It’s going to take some time to see so much construction that rents are going to fall.”

Read more at NBC News

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