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California’s Three Biggest Problems? 'Housing, Housing and Housing'

Assemblyman Todd Gloria addressed the future of the “missing middle” in San Diego County during a hearing on housing affordability in San Diego.

Image via Shutterstock

This post originally ran in the Nov. 30 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria addressed the future of the “missing middle” in San Diego County at the final committee hearing on housing affordability for the middle and working class in downtown San Diego Thursday.

The committee listened to panelists including policy analysts and San Diego Housing Federation officials on middle-income housing needs in the state and changes Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s administration could consider to spur more development.

Stephen Russell, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, emphasized that on top of the state’s housing shortage, there’s also a data shortage outlining the scope of the problem.

“There is a good grasp of demand, but not supply,” he said. “We believe there is a lack of supply for the middle income.”

Russell said officials need to better recognize the impact that housing costs have at different income levels, and to confront the issue of supply. About 5 percent of San Diego homes, for example, are off limits as housing.

Russell and Jim Waring, co-founder of CleanTech San Diego, both drove home a need for more data collection requirements and better data sets that include various layers of income to show “there’s a big hole in the middle.”

The San Diego Housing Commission is currently collecting data with the California Department of Housing and Community Development and will have information to the state soon, Russell said.

Stakeholders at the hearing brought up micro-housing – studios that are smaller and cheaper than standard units – as a possible housing solution.

Doug Holmes and Michael Dodd of Makana Properties LLC said the company has plans to build 21 studios in Logan Heights next year. They also outlined plans for a future 42-unit project in El Cerrito.

“We’ve come up with a concept using modular construction,” Holmes said. “We want to make this an affordable housing project.”

Gloria said he when he gets asked about the three biggest problems facing the state, his answer is “housing, housing and housing.”

“I don’t want this to be the end of the conversation,” he said. “There is not one issue constituents talk to me about that are not directly related to this issue.”

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