Build More Affordable Housing in California

Build More Affordable Housing in California

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Ibrahim Dharhan started this petition to State Representative David Chiu and

Our Solution to Homelessness

We believe the solution to homelessness in Oakland and in the Bay Area is to build more affordable housing and to provide more housing vouchers for low-income and struggling families and to increase the wages of workers. We believe that in order to combat homelessness, we have to look at why people become homeless and solve that issue first. And many organizations, like the Governing, National Homeless, EcoBear, and more agree that one of the main causes of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing combined with the lack of a steady increase in wages. 

Many homeless people, opposite of the stereotypes, work hard and are trying to get off the streets. But the skyrocketing costs of housing in the Bay Area are making it near impossible. For example, let’s say a person gets himself a job making fifteen dollars an hour, an hourly wage well above the minimum wage in California. If this person were to work 40 hours a week, every week, without taking vacations or sick days, he would only accumulate a total of $31,200. After taxes in California, this will look more like $27,000. The average rent in Oakland for a one-bedroom apartment is about $2,000. This means that after rent, a person is left with $3,000, which pans out to be $250 a month. This isn’t enough to pay for utilities, food, clothing, insurance, entertainment, and any other unexpected expenses that may occur. 

 

However, there are solutions to this problem. If there were more affordable housing and more housing vouchers, this person would be able to live more comfortably and be able to save more of his income. Affordable housing would also give him time to increase his salary and pay, which in turn will allow him to eventually move out of affordable housing, which will then allow more low-income families to get back on their feet.

Another solution besides building more affordable housing complexes is giving out more vouchers. Since many people can’t afford to live in the Bay Area on such a low income due to the high rent, housing vouchers can close  the gap between what they can afford and how much rent actually is. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Options Study shows that housing instability for families without a voucher is a rocking 38.7%, whereas families with a voucher is a mere 17%. Providing housing vouchers to low-income families is proven to combat the drastically growing homelessness population in the Bay Area.

 

Creating more affordable housing while distributing more housing vouchers is a key solution to combat homelessness. However, this could be really expensive. Therefore, we believe a policy should be put in place that inputs more federal dollars into combatting this issue. The state of California can’t do this alone on its budget, so we need help from the federal government with funding. California is already in the process of asking for more housing vouchers from the federal government, but this is not enough to supplement the efforts to combat our crisis. Our homeless crisis is not just a Bay Area problem, nor just a California problem, but a nationwide problem. Therefore, our federal government should do all in its power to aid. We truly believe that this solution will drastically mitigate our growing homeless population.

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