A panel of five housing experts spoke at a Sacramento City Council workshop on Tuesday and offered ideas to help mitigate effects of the affordable-housing shortage.
One idea was to build more rent-controlled units in areas where the cost of living has skyrocketed. The California Housing Finance Agency and the City of Los Angeles are looking at this option.
"There would be the ability for developers to identify sites that are in gentrifying neighborhoods, but yet rents are still relatively affordable," said Jeree Glasser-Hedrick with the CHFA.
Other ideas included identifying housing projects that could allow the city to take advantage of a future increase in state cap-and-trade dollars, some of which will go toward transit-oriented development.
Ben Metcalf, the director of the California Housing and Community Development Agency, said that this would make sure “that our low-income families can access transit, don't need to commute long distances.”
He added that the city has not had much luck accessing cap-and-trade funding previously, but might in the future because the amount of money available will increase dramatically.
Deborah Ruane, an executive and chief strategy officer with the San Diego Housing Commission, told the council Sacramento is not alone. “We provide over 15,000 Section 8 vouchers to San Diego families. We have a waiting list of 85,000,” she said.
Panelists expressed hope that bond measures on the November ballot will provide more funding, and that the city should be prepared to submit projects to receive that money.
Several homeowners and representatives of business groups urged the council to proceed cautiously when considering rent control, though the purpose of the meeting was to research funding options and avenues to new construction. Proponents of rent control also spoke and urged swift action by the council.
A second council workshop is scheduled for September 4 and will focus on rent stabilization, eviction rules, and other measures that could be taken to reduce housing costs.