Research highlights importance of Bay Area affordable housing

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A research brief released Monday by UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project highlighted the need for the development of market-rate and subsidized housing in order to reduce displacement pressures and to alleviate the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The research focused on the relationship between development, affordability and displacement, and expanded on information gathered from a previous report released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office in February. While the previous research suggested that the development of market-rate housing units is the most effective method of preventing displacement, the new research accounted for the exclusion of subsidized housing from the LAO report.

Miriam Zuk, project director and senior researcher at the Center for Community Innovation, said that their research addresses the debate between groups that favor market-rate construction and those that favor subsidized housing.

“There is a debate about whether to invest in market-rate or subsidized housing, and this research shows that both are important,” Zuk said.

According to Zuk, Berkeley has one of the strongest rent controls within the Bay Area but is still experiencing gentrification and becoming a less affordable location to live.

Professor of city and regional planning Jennifer Wolch, who did not participate in the study, emphasized the importance of affordable housing in the Bay Area and the need to delay the process of gentrification.

“City planners are fairly aware and concerned about the issue of gentrification,” Wolch said. “They have to be mindful of the dynamics of cities.”

Displacement could also impact the schooling system because displaced students may have to transfer out of districts or commute farther distances to get to school, according to Deborah McKoy, campus lecturer in city and regional planning. She added that there is a need for affordable housing policies to respond to demographic and economic changes in the Bay Area.

Among members of City Council, there is a lack of support for subsidized housing, said Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner Alejandro Soto-Vigil. He added that the new research, which shows that subsidized housing has a stronger impact on displacement than market-rate units do, challenges the notion that market-rate construction could be an effective way of reducing displacement.

Soto-Vigil said that Berkeley represents a positive example in terms of rent control and stabilization, but there still does not exist adequate subsidized housing. He added that there was a need for the city to expand housing for families and for the homeless and disabled.

The results of the research have been regarded as powerful in bringing attention to the problem of housing affordability.

“This research is unbiased literature that supports the council utilizing more of its surplus funds to allocate towards the development of new affordable housing,” Soto-Vigil said.

Contact Shanzeh Khurram at [email protected].

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  • Kurt VanderKoi

    Hey, I have an idea! If you want affordable housing don’t live in the Bay Area.

    In some areas along the coast like the Bay Area the cost of housing is EXTREMELY high. Costs are low up north in places like Eureka and Arcata. Housing in the inland areas such as Sacramento, Merced, etc. is
    affordable. San Luis Obispo is more affordable than the Bay Area.

    If you are a student check out housing costs around:
    – Cal Poly http://www.calpoly.edu/
    – UC Merced http://www.ucmerced.edu/

  • Astonishingly, although the report speaks of household incomes, it makes no mention of jobs and wages, other than this confession:

    “As discussed above, housing affordability and displacement may be related to other neighborhood and regional factors, such as employment dynamics and neighborhood amenities that were not included in the models.”

    As a result, the report is not about the housing affordability crisis at all — neither its causes or cures. It is a huge misdirection that falsely promises to address a problem in the political economy (housing affordability) with a non-solution (more development).

    • lspanker

      Please learn something about the law of Supply and Demand before posting such ignorant nonsense in the future…

      • Yes, lspanker. Labor is vastly over-supplied and therefore its price is so low that a majority of workers in the region can not afford market rate housing.

        Think about that (well, other readers who do think): Real wages for more than half of the workers in the region are too low to afford housing. This is what economic collapse looks like.

        Hey, lspanker: did you know that a startling number of Cal students are food-insecure? In your abundant “econ 101” wisdom, is it your view that the food supply is over-regulated and that consequently there is a food shortage?

        • lspanker

          Labor is vastly over-supplied and therefore its price is so low that a
          majority of workers in the region can not afford market rate housing.

          It’s over-supplied on the low end of the wage-earner spectrum. Hmm, funny what happens when we share a 2,000+ mile land border with an third world country and don’t enforce our own immigration laws. But OBVIOUSLY that has NOTHING to do with “supply and demand” in YOUR mind, does it?

          id you know that a startling number of Cal students are food-insecure?

          “Food insecurity” is a term with no meaning, invented by militant progressives to try to whip up hysteria about a problem that is largely non-existent in this country. Food itself is quite cheap in this country if you’re not too lazy to prepare it yourself.

          • You are correct that border crossings do not cause an over-supply of labor. They are a symptom of it. The excess supply of labor is caused by:

            1) A very high average level of productivity across all sectors, globally. The entirety of useful global output requires very few people at all to produce, relatively speaking.

            2) An excessive number of hours in the full-time work-week, all around the world.

            3) The inability of money printing and deficit spending to employ enough superfluous labor to prevent real-terms deflation. On the moment, money printing and deficit spending are still able to produce nominal inflation but there are no prospects for full employment.

            Making a reasonable surmise as to your age, your working lifetime has existed entirely during a period of history when deficit spending and money printing are the only thing that made your wage possible. That may be a bitter pill to swallow, of course.

            “”Food insecurity” is a term with no meaning, invented by militant progressives

            No, it means you don’t have enough money to reliably do that.

            Food itself is quite cheap in this country if you’re not too lazy to prepare it yourself.

            Which, indeed, many of these same students do. You are just spewing slanders that seem to originate from some combination of a bad trolling habit and a failed ideology. You do this a lot on the Daily Cal site. It’s almost like an unofficial column you’ve got going — although it is a bit repetitive.

          • lspanker

            I see your new approach to rebuttal is to just start spewing nonsense and

            obfuscating the views of others…

            You are correct that border crossings do not cause an over-supply of labor.

            Never said such a thing. In fact, I suggested the opposite – open borders create a glut of unskilled labor that drives wages down on the low end of the scale.

            1) A very high average level of productivity across all sectors, globally. The entirety of useful global output requires very few people at all to produce, relatively speaking.

            2) An excessive number of hours in the full-time work-week, all around the world.

            The “excessive number of hours” is due to the high level of taxation on working people, who work more and more hours to support the parasites and moochers who can’t seem to keep regular employment.

            Making a reasonable surmise as to your age, your working lifetime has
            existed entirely during a period of history when deficit spending and
            money printing are the only thing that made your wage possible.

            No, my salary is possible because I have a professional education and useful job skills that are in demand in the marketplace.