Affordable Housing

Housing in the Valley has been a complex issue that is difficult to comprehend and solve. The housing prices in the last two years have risen by up to 50%. They have been high since the late seventies, and the wages have not been adequate to afford a reasonable house. Since the early 80s, when the housing price index in the valley was around 35, it has risen to close to 350 now, a 10x increase. The median price of a single-family home in the valley today is around $1.4M. Despite the low-interest rate environment, household income has to be over $250K to afford this median house. Unfortunately, the median income in the valley is around $145K today, thus creating an affordability gap.

We find ourselves united by a common vision—a vision of a future where every person, regardless of income, has access to a safe, affordable home. A place they can call their own. It’s not just a dream; it’s a necessity, a foundation for stability, health, and prosperity in our communities.

We are at a pivotal moment, where bold actions can lead us toward making this vision a reality. Our journey begins with transformative policy changes, such as eliminating the SALT deduction limit, which currently stands as a barrier for many homeowners. By removing this cap, we empower more individuals and families to navigate the complexities of federal taxes with ease, bringing us one step closer to affordability.
Modifying Prop 13 to limit property taxes to 0.5% of the market value is another critical step. This, combined with instituting a 1031 exchange type of federal regulation, ensures that homeowners can transition from one home to another without the burden of unfair taxation, fostering a more dynamic and accessible housing market.

We must also address the challenges introduced by Prop 19, particularly the issues surrounding Inter-Generational Transfer, ensuring that families can pass on their homes without facing prohibitive tax reassessments. This is about fairness, about preserving the legacy and stability of our families for generations to come.

Our approach to affordable housing must be as multifaceted as the problem itself. By streamlining the permitting process, we can reduce delays and lower costs for developers, incentivizing the creation of affordable units. Offering tax breaks, subsidies, or density bonuses further encourages development that includes housing accessible to all income levels.

Public lands present a valuable opportunity to directly address our housing shortages. By utilizing these lands for affordable housing projects, we can significantly reduce land acquisition costs, making these initiatives more feasible and impactful.

Innovative zoning solutions, such as upzoning and mixed-use development, alongside reduced parking requirements, can transform our urban landscapes. These strategies not only increase housing stock but also enhance the livability of our neighborhoods, creating vibrant, inclusive communities where people can live, work, and thrive.

Supporting low-income families through expanded rent subsidies and first-time homebuyer assistance programs is essential. These measures provide a lifeline to those on the brink of housing instability, ensuring that homeownership remains within reach.
Preserving existing affordable housing units through financial incentives or grants is equally important, as is our collaboration with Silicon Valley tech companies. These partnerships can unlock new funding avenues for affordable housing projects, leveraging the innovation and resources that define our region.

Community land trusts, modular and prefabricated homes, tiny home communities, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) represent creative, cost-effective solutions to increase our housing supply. Each of these strategies brings us closer to a future where affordable housing is not just an idea but a reality.

Finally, advocating for state and federal support, and developing a comprehensive housing strategy, are crucial steps. This strategy must address the supply of affordable housing and broader issues such as homelessness, income inequality, and access to public services.
In conclusion, the path to affordable housing is paved with challenges, but it is within our reach. It requires collaboration, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to our shared vision. Together, we can build a future where every person has a place to call home—a foundation for a life filled with hope, dignity, and opportunity.

Ritesh Tandon for California Issues
PO Box 731357, San Jose, CA 95173
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