California housing crisis finally gets bold response it needed. Thanks to Newsom, Atkins.


The severity of California’s housing crisis is difficult to exaggerate. Families in which spouses both have solid middle-income jobs struggle to afford mortgages for condos, not just single-family homes. Families in which spouses both have lower-income jobs often share apartments with others. Many single employed people — and some families — have no choice but to live in their cars. The nation’s richest state is also, perversely, its most impoverished.

This grim situation got the decisive response it deserved on Thursday when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 9, which effectively eliminates single-family zoning by allowing duplexes in most neighborhoods, and Senate Bill 10, which makes it far easier to add housing near transit hubs.

A Pardee Homes project under construction on Otay Mesa in this September 20, 2019, file photo. (Photo by Getty Images)

These measures alarm many homeowners who fear drastic changes in their communities. They also have critics who believe they will fuel speculative building by hedge funds and wealthy investors more focused on making money than adding cheaper housing. There’s no way to know how many new homes will result. But in an interview Friday, a Newsom administration official emphasized any measure that increases the amount of available housing stock is ultimately going to be positive. Economists agree. The cost of housing is inevitably going to be high if there is far more demand than supply.

These bold measures may disrupt and possibly diminish the quality of life in some communities. But they have the potential to improve the quality of life of millions of California families who now spend half their income or more on shelter. Thanks to Newsom and state Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, for shepherding them to passage.

SAUT Editorial | Contributed

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