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San Luis Obispo leaders face uphill climb on lack of housing

Posted at 11:39 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 19:21:11-05

Overall homeownership rates in California are at their lowest since the 1940s, according to the California Department ofHousing and Community Development.

Affordable housing still remains a problem throughout the state, Central Coast, and in San Luis Obispo specifically. If solutions don’t materialize, the situation could become devastating for the city.

“We’ll be seeing exoduses of certain folks, certain population will just be gone,” Ken Trigueiro said. “Those are actually critical folks we hope keep from leaving our area.”

Triguerio is Executive Vice President and CFO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing,one of the organizations part of the solution for thousands of residents in need of affordable housing.

Since 2008, California has only built an average of 80,000 homes each year, far below the 180,000 needed to keep up with growth by 2025.

The city is facing a jobs-to-housing imbalance, according to the a report from Chamber of Commerce. Currently that ratio is 2.5 jobs for every one home.

San Luis Obispo has a number of housing projects in development that include affordable housing. On Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission revisited the work done in the last year to address it.

Part of the solution is continuing to encourage affordable housing projects like Avila Ranch and San Luis Ranch with more options than just low-income.

“We’ll see, in the next year, an increase in moderate,” Xzandria Fowler said, Deputy Director of San Luis Obispo Planning. “One project for example is the 650 Tank Farm project that was recently before your commission. That one had some moderate units tied to it. We’re advocating for development projects to have a wider range of those units provided so we can have a better compliance rate with providing those units more equally.”

Financial hurdles and red tape on the development side still exist; land and its supply, processing requirements, and time.

“All that really adds up to layer of costs before you even get to just the construction costs,” Triguerio said.

Triguerio says he optimistic that progress is being made, but says part of the problem with building affordable housing is labor availability and cost. It means tackling the housing issue will take even longer.

The city will host a housing forum in April. The public is encouraged to attend. We will keep you updated when that comes up.