The fires in Northern California have left mass devastation in its wake. At least 41 people have died and nearly 6,000 houses have been destroyed.
The fires will test an already stretched housing supply in the state. According to national news reports, in the five-year period ending in 2014, California added 544,000 households but only 467,000 housing units.
What should state and local governments do to tackle this worsening housing crisis?
Tom Armbruster: Maybe strengthen infrastructure before development. Have developers pay for most of it?
Kristina Driggs-Walkling: A lot of people can’t afford houses that are being built in the area. California should prohibit or cap foreign investors from buying rental properties and driving up prices for residents. I looked into buying a tiny home and there are many restrictions like the minimum size of a home in many counties and cities. I saw an article from 2015 about tiny homes being investigated to help with homelessness. Where does this initiative stand? I think this could be a viable solution for many people if land were allotted for this purpose. It would be great to have a tiny home mobile community but allow people to purchase the plots. Mobile communities aren’t a good option because of land rental fees, HOA etc.
Keith Snow: Keeping all the people affected by the fires in my prayers. Thank you to all the people stepping up to help and all the firefighters, first responders, Red Cross and police. I feel the state should offer more resources and programs to help. They should have better planning and emergency shelter until people can get back on their feet. If I was in charge I would already have these kind of plans in place. It takes time for people to rebuild their lives when things like this happen. We need to be ready at all times.
Nants Foley: This is an issue that has been a topic of discussion for years at the California Association of Realtors. California has not kept pace with the demand for housing over the last decade. That means this will indeed make it worse, but look at our community. We feel we are already overburdened with new homes coming in. That sentiment is echoed by communities all over the state. No one wants more crowding. I do not think this is an issue for government to tackle. Many corporations are already re-locating their offices in other states where there is affordable housing. Supply and demand will balance out eventually.
Question of the Week was asked in an email and posted on the Hollister Free Lance Facebook page on Monday, Oct. 16. Thank you to all who contributed comments.