California’s housing crisis |

California’s housing crisis

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin address attendees at the fifth California Economic Summit held in Sacramento.
Courtesy / California Economic Summit |

More than 500 public, private and civic leaders at the California Economic Summit, held on Dec. 13 and 14, worked on specific ideas that will help lift Californians out of poverty by increasing educational pathways to middle-income jobs, implementing policies that will increase housing supply and developing innovative approaches to regional water management.

Participants and state leaders reviewed and defined policies outlined in the 2016 Playbook. The Summit developed an “all of the above” framework that it believes can lead to a solution to California’s housing crisis ­— a vital component in addressing poverty in the state. The framework will be presented to the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown in early 2017 and includes ideas that promote new permanent revenue sources for funding, additional resources for the general fund, and general obligations bonds among other options.

“The face of poverty in California is a single mom with two children. If we propose to address this issue, housing is a critically important element,” mentioned Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, during an address to the Summit attendees.

The housing crisis emerged as a leading issue with the most immediate promise for action. With approximately 13 million people in California living below or just above the poverty line, and nearly half of the state’s households struggling to meet basic needs like paying rent, discussions focused on reducing poverty and ensuring upward mobility.

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, featured at the Summit, the state of California ranks 49th in per capita housing units. The report also found that the housing crisis — exacerbated by rising home prices, low supply and stagnant wages — is costing the state $140 billion in economic activity each year.

In 2017, the Summit will support the regional implementation of the new $200M Strong Workforce Program, which promotes Career Technical Education as a way to prepare individuals for 21st century jobs.

In addition, the Summit will continue to champion the implementation of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs), which provide a way for local governments to pay for local infrastructure and economic development projects.

“The power of the California Economic Summit is derived from the diversity of its people who lend their talent, time and expertise in the development of connected actions that support a state that is more prosperous, equitable and sustainable,” said James Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward. “With one in four Californians living in poverty, the year-round work of these dedicated individuals has never been more important.”

In an informative keynote address that outlined the challenges to upward mobility, professor of economics at Stanford University Raj Chetty challenged state leaders to make sure they are doing enough to address this issue and reminded attendees that the problem must be solved locally.

“There is no magic pill, no one size fits all solution to the state’s problems. By bringing together various stakeholders, in some instances with competing interests, the Summit ensures solutions take into account different perspectives,” said Bill Mueller, chief executive of Valley Vision and leader of the California Stewardship Network. “To be effective, policies enacted also need to accommodate regional differences, and there’s no better place than the California Economic Summit to identify and drive these solutions.”

The California Economic Summit was developed by California Forward and the California Stewardship Network, and is the only effort bringing hundreds of leaders from California’s regional economies together to develop a shared strategy for advancing the state’s triple bottom line: growing the economy, improving environmental quality and increasing opportunity for all.

This year’s Summit was attended by leaders in education, housing and water management, including: University of California President Janet Napolitano; incoming Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley; California Department of Housing and Community Development director Ben Metcalf; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom; state Sen. Toni Atkins; Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore; and California Water Foundation CEO Wade Crowfoot.

The inaugural California Economic Summit was held in Santa Clara in 2012, followed by Los Angeles in 2013, Sacramento in 2014 and Ontario in 2015.

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