Housing for Everyone: Can it Be a Reality?
If you haven’t thought about the rising cost of housing, take a look at the foreclosure signs that are most likely scattered around your neighborhood. Especially for low-income families, housing is becoming a frustrating situation. What can be done?
If you’ve never heard the term "Inclusionary Housing Ordinance," here is what you need to know.
Governments are responding to the issue of rising housing costs by allocating a certain percentage of development for mixed-income neighborhoods. The idea is to create communities consisting of diverse incomes and backgrounds. These housing programs were first developed in the 1970′s, and the hope is that they will make housing affordable to a greater number of people. This also ensures that zoning laws don’t exclude low-income families.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to gain support for these programs, as what is basically happening is property is transferred from the hands of developers to low-income households. These programs are frequently challenged in court, in fact. Luckily, for the most part, the court rules in favor of the programs.
A Sacramento Bee editorial published June 17, 2008, entitled "Affordable Housing: Yes" discusses the need for more mixed-income housing in the Sacramento area. According to the article, fewer and fewer people here in Sacramento are able to afford homes. In 1997, 65 percent could afford a median-priced home; just ten years later, the percentage dropped to only 15 percent.
In the year 2000, the City Council approved the Mixed Income Housing Ordinance, required that developments in certain areas—the downtown and Curtis Park railyards, North Natomas, Delta Shores and North Laguna Creek—make at least 15 percent of new units affordable to low-income and very low-income households. But, this means that some neighborhoods will have affordable housing while others will not, which is why the current item on the agenda is whether to expand the boundaries of this ordinance.
This issue will be discussed tonight at the Area 1 Neighborhood Advisory Group, or NAG meeting, from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hart Senior Center, 915 27th street.
What are your thoughts on these type of housing developments? Do you think this is an important issue for the city to discuss? Can you think of any other ways we could help make housing affordable to all?