California Dreams, Deferred: The Golden State’s Affordable Housing Crisis

The Golden State is slowly becoming a place where people can’t afford to live in the sunshine.

Basically, there is no room left in California for the Californians – especially the working-class.

As if we needed more evidence that reining in illegal short-term rental operators would help combat the housing crisis facing cities around the country,  an article in the New York Times details the dire nature of what Democratic Senator Richard Bloom described as a “housing affordability crisis,” where there is no room for working class families.

San Francisco Democrat David Chiu was quoted saying: “We have cities around California that are happy to welcome thousands of workers in gleaming new tech and innovation campuses, and are turning a blind eye to their housing need.”

California is the toughest market for first-time home buyers and the cost of housing is beyond reach for almost all of the state’s low-income population. Despite having some of the highest wages in the nation, California also has the highest adjusted poverty rate.

One way to fix this? Take a cue from New York and crack down on illegal hotels. They are causing problems all over the country, from rising rent prices in DC to shady evasions of tax laws in Los Angeles.

In fact, over 91% of Americans agree that short-term rentals should be regulated, due to problems just like these.

In San Francisco, Airbnb’s hometown, the company was forced to settle a lawsuit it filed against the city and agree to hold its commercial operators accountable.

In Los Angeles, lawmakers are considering steps that would rein in the ability of commercial operators to run illegal hotels.

California’s cities are fighting back against Airbnb’s aggressive lobbying tactics, but there’s more to be done to protect Californians and keep them in their homes.