Towards more safe, affordable homes (part I of III): The government’s role

This is the first of a three-part series on our Housing4All plan. Download the whole plan here. This post focuses on the community-based approach because frankly it is high time our region paid more attention to addressing the needs and opportunities for those most struggling to afford a home to live in. I use the term “community-based” to refer to our government’s role in this crisis because any participation by the county government truly is driven by us as a community.

One essential point must be made right up front. While we can and we must help, this part of the plan only works over the long-term if we shrink the number of people who need any subsidy over time by improving educational and economic opportunities. We have a market imbalance that needs correction, but any real solutions over the long haul involve increasing opportunities for more San Diegans to afford to rent or buy a home without a subsidy.

Now let’s talk about the community-based approach.

Over 50% of San Diegans spend a third of their monthly income on keeping a roof over their heads. This is a problem for them but it is also a problem for all of us, and here’s why.  People who must spend a high portion of their income on rent cannot set aside money for medical emergencies, cannot invest in their children’s future or improving their own skills, and cannot help our economy grow.  In short, the high-cost of homes to rent and buy in San Diego hurts our economy by hurting our workforce. The high cost of homes has another severe negative impact. It makes us less competitive for keeping and attracting a talented workforce, which further harms our economy.

Our Housing4All plan has three essential components for increasing community-based support:

  1. We call for support of localized affordable housing funding that focuses solely inside San Diego County. (Example: a bond measure to be voted on for money to decrease the cost of homes)
  2. We call for changing housing rules so that the essential services struggling San Diegans need most are closer to their homes. (Example: Consider changes to zoning that allow healthcare and childcare facilities to be next to residential homes or apartments)
  3. We push for the removal of barriers to drive down construction costs and make entry level homes for rent and purchase more affordable to those at the cusp of needing a subsidy. (Example: Limit certain types of permit review to help property owners build more quickly)

Our entire region must share the increased burdens of having more homes – not merely the residents of County District Four. And our entire region must realize that just as District Four residents answer the call with our tax dollars to fight catastrophes like wildfires, so too must our fellow San Diegans support our shared regional need for more low cost homes.

Our Housing4All plan has for principles. Enhance quality of life, improve reliability in rules, decrease overall cost, and protection of our natural beauty and environment. To view or share a 30-second video about these principles, click here. These principles will help ensure that we focus on our shared needs and goals as a region and truly support all San Diegans.