Stronger Together.

Call to Action

Your Place to live: Telling your story

2/1/2/21

Dear Friends:

On my dental hygienist’s commute to work, she passes thousands and thousands of new homes.  She told me yesterday, that she and her boyfriend, a tugboat captain, rent a room in a home and that they save and save, dreaming that someday they would own a home.  But, as the price of homes are ever further from their reach, she does not believe she will  achieve home ownership, and for that reason, she and her boyfriend will not have children when they marry. She said her community of friends feel the say way. She is anxious over her future all of the time.  This is an intolerable situation that we must remedy together.

Is this your experience or the experience of your children, too?

Do you ever ask why working people are excluded from home ownership opportunity here?

Did you know that the housing “product” built in Placer County is unaffordable to 87% of the people who work here – that the affordability gap is over $200,000? 

The time is now to demand that our elected officials match housing types with the income levels of our working community.  Matching housing price with income is called Smart Growth. In addition to the beneficial social factor of matching incomes with housing products – Smart Growth also reduces environmental impacts and CO2 generation. 

What you can do:

Please become involved in Placer County’s Housing Element Update. This “Update” will either give us more of the same high-priced single-family sprawl or finally bring us safe, decent and affordable homes for all citizens.  Write to [email protected] and tell him how the affordable housing crisis affects you. Ask him for help in righting a wrong and opening up housing market to all of us.  Tell him Placer County’s proposed Housing Element Update fails it its promise to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to all citizens.  Letters must be received before 11/20/21; so do not delay!  Your story has power. Write [email protected]

Together, we’re a stronger voice.

Warmly,

Leslie Warren, Chair

P.S.

Here’s a great letter on the affordable housing crisis from our colleague, architect Mike Lehmberg:

February 2, 2021 

Mr. Paul McDougall  

[email protected] 

State of California 

Department of Housing and Community Development 

2020 West El Camino Ave 

Sacramento, CA 95833 

RE: Placer County’s Regional Housing Element 

Dear Paul, 

It is my understanding that the CA State Office of Housing and Community Development is currently reviewing Placer County’s update of their Housing Element as required by State Law. Under State law, Placer County is required to adopt government policy toward ensuring that  decent, safe, and affordable shelter is provided for all citizens. 

I am writing to express my opinion that Placer County’s submittal should not be accepted or approved by HCD. The County has failed to meet their own stated targets to encourage the  supply of housing stock for the low- and moderate-income affordability range for several years.  The update to the County’s proposed Housing Element Update will not deliver critically needed  affordable housing and will only exacerbate our air quality crisis due to perpetuation of  suburban sprawl. The proposed Housing Element Update includes no substantive action to be  taken to remedy these problems. 

Now’s the time for change. It is time for Placer County to chart a path towards fulfilling the  spirit of this law. The County’s Housing Element is supposed to be the “road map” to ensure  that the County provides all citizens the opportunity to live in decent safe and affordable  homes; a home where a family or individuals spend 30% or less of total income for rent,  mortgage, and direct housing expenses. Over the past year the average Placer County home  sold for $570,000. That is $287,626 more than the roughly 80% of tax paying County residents can afford to pay if they spend 30% of their income on housing. A quick review of the County’s  RHNA report card shows that very few homes have been built that would qualify as affordable  per this or any recognized metric.  

Over the past two years, Placer County invited citizens to meetings, to provide written  comments and to participate in public hearings on the Update of the Housing Element. Many  citizens dutifully did this, but not one citizen suggestion was incorporated in the Draft Housing  Element update. The participation in the process was to no avail. 

I respectfully request State of CA Office of Housing and Community Development intervene and  leverage its jurisdictional authority to require the Placer County Housing Element Update to

remedy the housing affordability crisis. The County is not taking the problem seriously and has  no interest in complying with State mandates. Just to account for failures in the past, the  County would now need to incentivize developers to build 3,023 affordable homes. 

Thank You for considering this request and I hope we may see positive changes to Placer  County’s housing Element update as a result. 

Sincerely, 

Michael Lehmberg

Auburn, CA 95603 

Cc: 

Megan Kirkeby – [email protected] 

Saldana Irvin – [email protected] 

Hillary Prasad – [email protected]

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