On June 3, Emil Picchi asked via LTE who benefits from more housing. It benefits all of us, especially our most vulnerable and essential workers. According to the County’s Let’s Talk Housing website:

• “1 in 4 renters liv[es] in overcrowded housing — more than one occupant per room ... 89% are people of color.”

• “1 in 4 renters spend more than 50% of their income on rent.”

• A hair stylist making $20 an hour would be spending 62% of their income on rent

• A medical assistant or preschool teacher making $27 an hour would be spending 45% of their income on rent.

More housing benefits our entire community by:

• Enabling our “teachers, firefighters, health care workers, essential workers [to] find homes … ;”

• Enabling our “young adults [to move] out of their childhood home and…stay in the cities they grew up in;” and

• Providing our local businesses with more customers.

Buildings like duplexes, cottage clusters, and low-rise apartments are also a less resource-intensive way to house workers already here, and are more water-friendly. Half of urban water use is landscaping, and total urban water use has been declining in California despite a growing population. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, per capita urban water use fell from 231 gallons per day in 1990 to 146 in 2015.

Nathan Chan


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(4) comments


Well said Nathan. I love it when people cite actual facts from reliable respected sources. It makes a world of difference.

Dirk van Ulden

Nathan provides some of silliest stats that I have seen in a while. Does he know the percentage of a homeowner's income that is spent on his housing? Likely much more than 50%. Many apartment dweller are transitory and eventually buy a home. He also provides some worn out benefits of more housing without identifying the negatives such as more traffic, more reliance on utility infrastructures and the list goes on. For some reason, I still see many young families moving into our neighborhoods, regardless of the astronomical housing prices. So, what is their secret? Perhaps Nathan needs to ask them.

Cindy Cornell

Doubtful any of them are childcare workers, waiters, hairdressers, nurses, caregivers, auto mechanics.

Terence Y

Mr. Chan, thanks for those statistics. Perhaps you could provide statistics on how much it costs in permits and development fees before ground is broken on any project. The Terner Center for Housing Innovation, UC Berkeley, has written a series of articles on development fees. When reading some of those articles, you can see why housing, single family or multiunit homes is so expensive. Also, in the Bay Area, how much does it cost builders to install mandatory all electric appliances, to install mandatory electric chargers for the majority of folks who don’t own electric cars, low-water or no-water toilets, etc.? Builders aren’t going to throw in those “features” for free.

If people are fans of stack and pack housing, why don’t we build multi multi-story dorm buildings and begin selling rooms with communal kitchen and bathroom rights? This would have the benefit of increasing single family home values as well as creating housing for much more people. Win-win! BTW, maybe we should tell all of these folks who are currently priced out that there’s no law forcing them to stay in the Bay Area. A bit harsh, but the Democrat powers-that-be have deigned that CA, and especially the Bay Area, is not an inclusive environment.

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