Illustration by Leo Gordon
In the upcoming midterm election, Proposition 1 will give voters the opportunity to revolutionize affordable housing and support for low-income California residents. According to ABC News, if Proposition 1 passes, the State of California will allocate four billion dollars in bonds towards programs assisting veterans, farm workers, senior citizens, disabled people, and low-income workers in accessing affordable housing. Bonds would be bought by private investors and repaid by the state from California’s General Fund over the next 35 years.
This proposition could help lessen the devastating effects of California’s housing crisis. The Bay Area in particular has seen a massive surge in real estate pricing over the last decade. The average rent of living space is a whopping $3,448 a month. With housing prices so far above the national average in all of California and specifically in the East Bay, it’s hardly surprising that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Californians to afford homes. This is a pressing issue as the housing crisis is only worsening over time. As reported by the Los Angeles (LA) Times, California would need to build 3.5 million homes by 2025 to provide affordable housing to its citizens.
Some developers in California maintain that Proposition 1 is economically irresponsible given that affordable housing costs as much as market-price housing to build. Nevertheless, solving the housing crisis could create a ripple effect on other major problems facing the state. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the housing crisis is exacerbating other problems facing California such as air pollution, wildfires, homelessness, and the economy. Passing Proposition 1 would be the most financially sound course of action to continue economic growth in California. Long-term benefits include the reduction of funds that both the state and taxpayers are forced to spend on damage control for other issues.
California’s housing crisis should concern all residents of the state whether or not they struggle with finding a place to live. Although this problem hasn’t affected all Californians drastically yet, without intervention its impact will soon be felt far beyond the housing market. For far too long, the state has made minimal effort to provide affordable housing and support for veterans and disadvantaged Californians, all while not acknowledging the struggles of low-income Californians as a priority.