Housing is a
We believe that housing is a human right. Accordingly, we have been raising funds as well as raising awareness regarding all issues related to housing.
Housing issues in American can really be solved using a two-prong approach. First, you have to make sure that there is access. This is not always the case because a lot of places in America, particularly the San Francisco bay area, are so expensive that people simply do not have de facto access.
Sure, legally they have access, but all the legal rights in the world isn’t going to do you much good if you do not have enough dollars in your bank account to pay for rent. That is the bottom line. That’s the harsh reality that a lot of people have to contend with.
And we’re not just talking about San Francisco here. Many other parts of the country are afflicted with this serious problem of housing shortages. This is why we advocate governmental solutions to provide more access to housing.
Easing for Housing
Whether it takes the form of subsidized housing or a mixed use housing or a looser form of construction permit policy, we work with local governmental institutions as well as governmental units involved in human settlement and social welfare to shed light on this problem.
Now, what makes this problem so difficult is that it is essentially local in nature. You can’t use a one size fits all strategy. For example, in California, the reason why housing is so expensive in the San Francisco bay area is very different from the explanation in southern California.
In Southern California, it’s more of an open market-driven price inflation as more and more money comes in from places like China, and buys up premium properties. This creates a domino effect that starts to boost prices that are down market.
In other words, when somebody buys up all the mansions, the people who used to live in the mansions or who would think about buying mansions would then switch to lower upper class housing. And this displaces other potential buyers or existing occupants and they move down the market.
In Northern California, on the other hand, the housing shortage is legislative in nature. Starting in the 1970’s, there have been all sorts of smart planning and controlled planning legal initiatives. As a result, a relatively few pieces of land were allocated to housing.
And based on classical economic theory, when there is low supply and heavy demand, you know what comes next. That’s right, high prices. We work with both nonprofits and governmental units to address access issues, but we also work with private industry players to help them reduce the cost of building housing.
Cost Efficient Designs
We share cost efficient designs, we share different geographic surveys, and we do what we can do to help the private sector open their minds to reducing costs to such an extent that they can then pass the savings onto their final customers.
By working on both ends of the spectrum on both the private and public side, our mission is to make housing affordable and open to all. Regardless of a person’s budget, regardless of a family’s needs, it is our ultimate goal as a public policy think tank, to give the proper information to the right people and organizations to affect fundamental changes in both the local and regional housing markets.
Now, more than ever, housing is a serious problem for most Americans. As more and more Americans are left behind by the greater economy, rising rents and nearly oppressive mortgage rates are locking out more and more people from the housing market.
Impossible house prices
Keep in mind that this is not top of the line housing we’re talking about here. We’re literally talking about keeping a roof above people’s heads. That’s how dire the situation is. As the economy heats up in many parts of the country, more and more people are facing skyrocketing rents and impossible house prices.
Families’ HOPES AND DREAMS
Indeed, in the SF Bay Area, one of the most reliable gauges of the health of the local economy is how crazy rents are in the City. Back in the day, thanks to rent control, rents were manageable and people had a choice between public and private housing options. Now, you almost have to be a millionaire to even think about living in the City. Even if you wanted to live in the lower rent parts of town, you’ll be surprised that there is no low rent area. Every part it seems is a premium rent area. That’s why so many families are moving out of The City if not the Bay Area.
Our advocacy works with both individuals and organizations to come up with public, private, and hybrid solutions to this pressing problem. We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage to political ideology or ill fitting principles. If we wish to achieve any kind headway, we need to think out of the much talked about box. Except this time we really have to do it. There has to be no sacred cows. There has to be no ideological straitjacket. This imperative has to apply to both the left and the right.
To think that housing is a simple economic matter or the working of impersonal factors would be to miss the point entirely. We’re not just talking about numbers recorded in some city worker’s ledger. We are talking about the hopes and dreams of families who just want a place to live that is close to their place of work. We’re talking about human souls here. That’s why we are dedicated to making the impossible happen in many of this nation’s hottest markets.
A crisis of self-confidence
Ultimately, the housing problem is not a unsolvable problem. Instead, it is a crisis of self-confidence and imagination. We are confident that with enough grassroots support we will be able to get out from under this monster. We have to. It’s not like we have any choice.
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