The State’s Role in the Housing Crisis

At the Sierra Club, a Focus on Race, Gender and the Environment, Too’ is a blog offering a variety of viewpoints about environmental justice, race and health disparities. The site is sponsored in part by Sierra Club.

Search This Blog

Thursday, July 9

The Sierra Club’s own report into the California housing crisis concludes that the California Energy Commission is “just as culpable as the State of California when it comes to the lack of a coherent policy toward the California market.” There is no doubt that the commission has been slow on the uptake of new technology to reduce energy usage and no doubt that in the past it has done everything in its power to prevent the installation of energy saving technologies. And yet the state has to take some responsibility for the state’s housing crisis. When housing is at its peak, both demand and supply are at their highest and both are constrained. Supply and demand being the driving forces of the housing crisis. But the state’s role in that crisis is not to force people out into the cold in the middle of winter.

The state government has been complicit in creating a problem in the first place. There are other reasons for a housing crisis. Housing crisis is not a one-off aberration. The problem is part of a broader problem: the state and county governments that supply housing to the people in California.

The state government’s role in housing goes right to the very root of the problem.

California started the California Housing Trust Fund in 2002 as a way of building affordable housing. In the early days this was a great idea because when the federal government cut off money for affordable housing from low income housing programs, private sources had to step in. Local governments stepped up, providing low-rent housing projects for lower income individuals. But it was a bad idea because the state government was in charge of the trust fund and the state housing supply then was not sustainable. It became a self-perpetuating vicious cycle of demand without supply and supply without demand. (The California Housing Supply Sustainability Project at UC Berkeley has done a great deal of research on this. And the state needs to look at this problem for reasons that apply to other jurisdictions outside of California.)

The state government�

Leave a Comment