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Wanted: Solutions To Sacramento's Housing Shortage

  

Higher rents. Fewer places to live. That's the rental market in Sacramento these days. The Sacramento City Council is hosting the first in a series of workshops to find solutions.

According to the City of Sacramento's General Plan, nearly 18,000 housing units should have been built in the last nine years. But, only 3,500 have actually been constructed.

The vacancy rate in Sacramento County in that time has fallen from 8 percent to 2 percent.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says the city and the county are nearing a housing crisis.

"I have a great desire to see Sacramento evolve and develop as a cosmopolitan city with all the amentities and high-wage jobs," says Steinberg. "An essential piece of that strategy is ensuring that we have a diverse housing stock that is affordable to working people and low-income people."

The Sacramento City Council's meeting this week is the first of several workshops for people to submit their solutions.

Steinberg says Sacramento must do something to provide an incentive to builders to create more affordable housing.

"The public needs to provide some subsidy to induce more of these kinds of projects. And, so we're going to look at the whole wide range of options, whether it be a housing bond, whether it be a permanent source -a transfer fee on certain real estate transactions. There are a variety of things being talked about throughout the state," says Steinberg.

The City hopes to adopt a new downtown specific plan by the end of the year.