SVCF public policy update: The Bay Area needs more housing, and S.B. 35 will help us get it

Housing

Our region faces a brutal housing crisis. For the past several decades, we simply have not built enough housing to keep up with our dynamic job growth and growing population. Because of this, Silicon Valley has earned the distinction of being the least affordable place to live in the United States.

We know that the state’s housing problems are complex, and there are no easy fixes. But SVCF’s board of directors has voted to raise our voice in support of California Senate Bill 35, because we believe this legislation will help accelerate and simplify new housing production in the Bay Area and across the state.

The short supply and high cost of housing has a tremendous impact on our communities – almost half of Bay Area residents are “housing-cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Others are forced to move far from their Bay Area jobs to find cheaper housing – but they face long commutes that wear away at their quality of life.

In fact, a recent poll conducted by the Bay Area Council found that one third of residents are considering leaving the area because of the high cost of living. Lack of housing puts our economic prosperity at risk. Our region, while unique, is not alone in California. All our state’s urban centers are suffering a similar fate.

How do we tackle this problem? A myriad of research has shown that lack of resources, poor accountability and tax policies that favor jobs over housing have created the current situation. One of the most important causes of our housing crisis is that the processes cities use to approve new housing developments are overly lengthy and complicated. Even when projects are planned within approved zoning and comply with environmental criteria, it can take months or years for municipalities to approve construction. Such delays add to developers’ costs and sometime make building the actual housing units financially unfeasible.

California Senate Bill 35, introduced last December by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, aims to streamline local approval processes to facilitate the construction of more housing. The specific goal is to create more places to live in municipalities that have failed to create the housing required of them under their Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals (RHNA) and streamline approvals for housing developments that have complied with zoning regulations, environmental criteria and labor provisions.

Please join SVCF in supporting this bill to create much-needed new housing in California.

In addition to reading the bill, please sign up on this page to tell California lawmakers about your support for SB 35. SVCF will be sending the names of supporters to legislators weekly.

Thank you for your participation.

Show your support, sign up today