Stop the Rental Crisis in Bay Area: Government Should Give More Permission to Build

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Being one of the most expensive areas to live in, San Francisco Bay Area has approximately 12,000 homeless people (San Francisco Coalition). While there are many affordable housing programs that help people in poverty, many middle-class people are being ignored by the public. These middle-class people earn too much to qualify for any affordable housing program but their income is still not enough to afford the expensive rent in the Bay Area. Having one of the most rapid job growth rates in the whole world, the housing supply in the Bay Area has become significantly insufficient. Therefore, as a concerned citizen, I urge the regional governments in the Bay Area increase housing supply in their area to match the rate of job growth, which was a 5.9% increase, approximately triple the national average.

According to the yearly income limits in 2017 by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara, in order to be eligible for federal housing assistance in the county, one's income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income, which is $59350 for an individual. Although this number may seem reasonable for many areas in the US, it is important to note that the average apartment rent in Santa Clara is $2128. With that said, people whose income exceeds the low-income limit will have to rent for approximately 35-40 percent of their income, though bets are on for how long that price will last. Many middle-class people such as school teachers and tech workers are being squeezed out of the expensive Bay Area. 

One major reason of the extremely expensive housing in the Bay Area is the rapid job growth in the area. In 2016, there were more than 59300 new positions in San Jose metro area, a 5.9% jump that is nearly triple the national increase of 2.1% (MercuryNews). What's more, the Bay Area is also attractive to many internationals because of its good climate and lively city vibe. The housing supply in the Bay Area is far less than the demand. There are definitely companies willing to build more homes and make more money, and there is plenty of space in the area. The very regional governments in Bay Area should increase the current housing supply in their own area to better the lives of the left-out middle class by giving more permission to build. 

There are definitely companies willing to build more homes and make more money, and there is plenty of space in the area. It is clear that the major barrier to more housing supply is the governments. According to National Association of Home Builders, there were 14, 989 of building permit issued in 2016 in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area, which was a 18% decrease compared to 2015. In order to better the lives of the left-out middle class in the Bay Area, the very regional governments in Bay Area should increase the current housing supply in their own area by giving more permission to build. 



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