California Housing Crisis Essay

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Addressing California’s Housing Crisis: Affording Dignity in Shelter Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that housing is a fundamental component to a decent standard of living, yet few city governments--even in the most developed economies--have proven themselves capable of ensuring such a basic right to their constituents (United Nations, General Assembly). Ranked 49th among the 50 U.S. states for its number of housing units per capita, California has notoriously struggled with chronic shortages in its urban housing market. With 118,142 homeless people recorded in 2016, California holds almost 22% of the nation’s homeless population (Fact Sheet: Homelessness in California 1). While median income has grown by…show more content…
It was a law which lacked teeth--rather than holding municipalities responsible for ensuring housing development, it only measured the compliance of each city’s Housing Element to state housing allocations (Ramsey-Musolf para. 2-4). In 1980, the legislature passed several amendments to address these issues. By codifying fair share standards so that wealthier municipalities bore a greater share of the LIH burden, the state legislature took a significant step in managing growth in a more logical, equitable manner. Housing allocation determinations and planning review powers were also passed down from the state to Councils of Government (COG), which served as regional planning commissions that were thought to be closer to municipal governments and less likely to be perceived as encroaching on local land use decision-making (Ramsey-Musolf para. 7). The need for regional, as opposed to decentralized housing policies, is significant: shortages of housing in one area simply push housing burdens to adjacent cities, exacerbating statewide levels of inequality. Unfortunately, a study cited in the Journal of Planning Literature found that this well-intentioned legislation has only created a production imbalance between LIH and MRH: though collective housing element compliance may have increased between 1990 and 1997, a sample of 53 California municipalities only produced 32% of its

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