How are California’s Bullet Train and Affordable Housing Connected?

California Gov. Brown’s support of high speed rail contrasts sharply with his gutting of affordable housing. Michael Russell, real estate developer and advisor, reviews pending bills and potential fixes for affordable housing.

Read Time: 2 minutes

May 27, 2014, 8:00 AM PDT

By melaniecj


While Gov. Jerry Brown pushes for costly high speed rail, a more pressing need for Californians across the state remains neglected. That need is affordable housing, according to Michael Russell, real estate developer, advisor, and a director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica, a non-profit housing developer.

Cities used to help fund affordable housing projects for families in need through redevelopment. However, redevelopment programs have been disbanded statewide by the combination of a court decision and actions by the governor.

“Government officials have acknowledged that redevelopment had its excesses, but point to affordable housing development and the economic development it provided as its successes. Redevelopment was the only program in the state that created affordable housing and economic development. Now, there’s nothing to replace redevelopment.”

With a median income in California of $58,328, 80 percent at $46,662, teachers, police officers, and fire fighters were among those able to affordable to move into the state’s affordable housing projects, Russell said.  However, the future is bleak for these workers in finding housing post redevelopment, he added.

“Without affordable housing, California will continue to price our workforce out of the market for rental and for sale housing. California ranks at the top of the least affordable housing markets in the nation.”

Russell discusses solutions for funding affordable housing projects in the future and potential legislation that he feels state lawmakers need to pass.

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