Op-Ed: Affordability Depends on Market-Rate Housing
There's affordable housing, and then there's affordable housing. Scott Wiener wades into the debate: "the problem is that as much as I and others support and work to expand subsidized, income-based affordable housing, we will never — and I truly mean never — produce enough of that housing to satisfy all, or even most, of our housing needs."
In California, "luxury housing" has become a very loaded term. "Some describe all new market-rate housing as 'luxury housing,' because it's expensive. Well, of course it's expensive, since for decades we haven't built enough of it."
But the numbers don't add up when it comes to subsidized units. "Statewide, California has only 664,000 affordable, income-based rental homes for a population of about 40 million, leaving more than 1.54 million of California’s lowest income households without access to affordable housing. Putting that in context, California has grown by 3.1 million people in the past decade and 16 million people since 1980."
Wiener describes a "perfect storm of shortsighted policies and lack of political leadership has completely jacked up the cost of housing," and says that those who won't support market-rate housing are contributing to the problem. "It's not that all this housing is luxury housing — it's that we have created a world where it is a luxury to have housing at all, given public policies specifically designed to stifle housing production."