Affordability in California

Every day, more families find themselves in a struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Caught in punishing cycles of unpredictable rent increases, overcrowded conditions, or lack of access to land and affordable financing, these families live with a constant burden of uncertainty, stress, and fear. Habitat for Humanity California knows that a safe  and affordable home plays a critical role in helping families to create a new cycle, one filled with possibilities and progress. Affordable homeownership frees families and fosters the skills and confidence they need to invest in themselves and their communities. The outcomes can be long-lasting and life-changing. This is why we advocate for sound public policy in support of affordable homeownership!

Powerful special interests have led local, state, and federal lawmakers to adopt public policies that have resulted in a significant drop in the overall housing production in California. Additionally, limited government investment in affordable housing has remained focused on rental and transitional housing developments, which leaves a lot of people out of the housing continuum.

Did you Know

Affordable homeownership has been under attack in California for the last two decades.

  • California has the 3rd lowest homeownership rate in the nation.
  • In 2017, housing permits issued by local authorities remain well below levels needed to account for population growth.
  • The Governor’s 2017-2018 budget did not include any significant financial solutions to the housing crisis.
  • The CA Department of Finance’s Economic Outlook projected that low levels of housing relative to demand are expected to continue in 2017 and 2018, contributing to faster inflation in the state.
  • The state budget crisis in 2011 led to the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies, the most significant funding source for affordable housing production in the state.

For many years the California housing market has challenged working families; however, the real estate crisis in 2007 exacerbated the structural housing production shortfall and the ability to enter the homeownership market entirely. Rapid increases in home prices and rents have continued throughout the state of California. Habitat for Humanity California is committed to supporting our local affiliates’ development projects and partner families, advocating for additional funding sources, regulatory reforms, and the creation of more opportunities for low-income working families to own a home in California.

Read more in our resources section.

Affordable housing is “below market rate” housing.

Habitat for Humanity traditionally relies on the generosity of supporters – individuals, groups, churches, and business corporations – to fund its building and repair activities in California. However, Habitat California affiliates have also relied on government partnerships from federal, state, and local programs to build their developments, including local redevelopment agencies, local housing trust funds, CalHome, and the California Self-Help Housing Program (CSHHP). Since 2011, these funds have been dramatically reduced or eliminated.