The State of Housing in California

Homelessness continues to rise, and recent legislation aimed at boosting housing production may be limited in its effect.

1 minute read

December 21, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Vintage multi-story brick apartment building and modern concrete and glass apartment building separated by a steep public stairway in Los Angeles, California.

New and old apartment buildings in Los Angeles, California. | olpoGraphy / Adobe Stock

The number of unhoused people in California grew in 2023 despite legislative efforts to increase housing production and support affordable housing projects, with the potential impact of a bevy of pro-development laws limited by high interest rates and other market forces.

In an article for CALmatters, Ben Christopher describes the shift in historic housing policy as state officials cracked down on cities not keeping up with their housing goals and passed a series of laws aimed at encouraging production. “A throng of state legislation passed in 2023 designed to clear aside local restrictions on construction and to diminish the threat of anti-development lawsuits, all with the goal of supercharging development.”

However, 2023 also saw a reduction in protections for renters and a rising rate of evictions coupled with more punitive policies targeting unhoused residents. As Christopher points out, “Despite all the new pro-construction legislation, a boom probably isn’t in the cards for 2024. High interest rates have put a damper on new construction and those in the business of building affordable housing say insufficient public funding remains an obstacle.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 in CALmatters

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