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Housing proposal focuses on low-income residents

Original post made on Sep 22, 2021

A partnership between Eden Housing and Santa Clara County may soon bring that rarest of commodities -- affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities -- to the Peninsula.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 1:48 PM

Comments (4)

Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 22, 2021 at 11:54 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

Cities should be encouraging development of ALL types of housing. When someone upgrades to better housing, their current housing becomes available. This "chaining" happens all the way down to super affordable housing. The best thing the cities could do would be to not impede developers.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2021 at 3:37 am

LongResident is a registered user.

When the more affluent flock to a community, the current apartment owners see an opportunity to upgrade and get more rent. By relatively inexpensive even cosmetic changes to the older buildings, they can jack up the rents on what was previously naturally somewhat affordable housing.

So this type of regulated BMR unit creation is very important. Where else will those who are displaced from the gentrification go when their apartment is "upgraded?" Rent control modulates this somewhat but the basic scenario is accurate. Even a rent controlled unit is allowed to increase. It eventually becomes too expensive for some of the current tenants, and they are displaced that way. As they leave a unit, that's when the "upgrade" process can begin for the landlord.

I don't think that the development of market rate apartments has been impeded. The problem is the new units are all luxurious and aimed at a market with substantial disposable income, e.g. such as is found with many of the YIMBY adherents. We need to concentrate on BMR unit creation to address the current housing problems. There is not really a shortage of market rate units--it's just that developers aim too high on the scale of luxury.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 23, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Dan, that theory is widely distributed but is deeply flawed. Building large amounts of market rate (/expensive) housing will not bring down most rents in Mountain View.

Data shows that developers wildly prefer building market rate housing over housing for the poorest and/or “average” residents (see “Housing units, built and planned, for 2015 through 2023 in Mountain View”, Web Link ). Some argue that average residents benefit when market rate housing is constructed, using this logic: imagine 1000 expensive units are created; rich folks who can afford the best move into them, making their old (now less desirable) units unoccupied. Slightly less affluent folks move up into these empty units, and the process repeats. Eventually the cheapest units become even cheaper, or so the logic goes. This is an example of increased supply while demand remains constant.

Now imagine a different scenario: 1000 expensive units are created; 1000 new tech workers are hired from out of state and move into them. Nobody moves out of their old housing; none of the existing housing becomes cheaper as a result. This is an example of increased supply when demand also increases: notice it did not lower anyone's rent.

Key point: the laws of supply and demand have not one but TWO parts. The reason that “build, baby, build” seems so “logical” is that many people unwittingly forget about the “demand” part of the equation. When demand for housing is very high, as it is in Mountain View, increasing supply does not automatically lower prices. Remember: developers prefer to build market rate housing. They see strong demand for it.

The true cause of unaffordable housing in the Bay Area is NOT a lack of supply, it is excessive demand. Most everyone who talks about a jobs/housing imbalance acknowledges this, perhaps unwittingly. Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing. Big Tech wants to create many more!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 29, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

ah BMR / "Below Market Rate", this type of project with goverment participation follows "the Golden Rule". Those with the Gold (the gov agencies) make the BMR sales contracting rules. And those rules (I think) become deed covenants attached to the title of the property. Legally enforcable when the owner might sell or wish to sell and a new owner 'upgrade tentants for more income'. Even non-profits can bug out or go bankrupt - contract law and 'the art of the deal' will keep these rentals BMR.

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