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How Can California Rein in Skyrocketing Cost of Building Affordable Housing

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Skyline of San Francisco, California, USA. (Allard Schager via Getty Images)

A recent Los Angeles Times report examined seven affordable housing projects in Northern California in which the cost of development surpassed $1 million per unit. Part of the reason for the exorbitant cost of building is skyrocketing construction prices with rising material and labor costs exacerbated by the pandemic and supply chain shortages. But, as the L.A. Times points out, local and state requirements add a sizable amount to the total expense. For nonprofit developers who build subsidized housing, that means fewer units for more money.  As California looks for ways to alleviate the housing crisis, we discuss why affordable housing is becoming more unaffordable and strategies to bring down the price tag.


Liam Dillon, statewide housing affordability and neighborhood change reporter, Los Angeles Times

Heather Hood, vice president, Northern California, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Tim Grayson, California State assembly member, district 14 (encompasses portions of Contra Costa and Solano Counties)

Ben Metcalf, managing director, Terner Center of Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley; former director, California Department of Housing and Community Development


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