Assemblymember Tim Grayson

Touring the state to better understand housing crisis

Assemblymember Tim GraysonIn September, the state Legislature adjourned until Jan. 3. This recess offers me the opportunity to spend more time in our community talking with people about California’s greatest challenges and to begin researching how I can address those challenges with innovative policy solutions.

Of course, some of the issues I hear most about are our ongoing housing affordability and homelessness crises.

The median price of a single-family home in California tops $800,000, which is more than twice the national average. Here in Contra Costa County, homes have risen in price by almost 25% since March 2020.

I know that I don’t want to have to board an airplane to visit my grandchildren because my children could not afford to live where they were raised, and I know that members of our community shouldn’t be forced to choose between living paycheck-to-paycheck and moving from the neighborhoods they call home.

Barriers and solutions

Over the past two months, a group of my colleagues and I have traveled across the state to participate in a series of regional roundtable discussions to examine barriers and explore solutions to the state’s housing production and affordability crisis. The impetus for this housing tour was simple: In order to achieve our goal of building needed housing for all Californians at all income levels, we must understand the challenges and opportunities for production that exist across the state.

This tour began in the Bay Area, where Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and I moderated a discussion and led site tours in Concord and Oakland. From there, my colleagues and I made stops in the Central Coast, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego. In the coming days, we will be traveling to Chico for the final stop in the statewide tour.

Regional topics that were highlighted along tour stops so far have included displacement and sprawl, challenges experienced by California’s agricultural and hospitality workers, barriers faced by under-resourced residents in rural communities and wrap-around services supportive housing models.

Unique challenges in East Bay

While in Concord, local housing experts highlighted some of the unique challenges we experience in the East Bay. For example, about 200,000 individuals from the Central Valley commute into the Bay Area every day, due in large part to the fact that these workers can’t afford to live closer to their jobs.

When large communities such as San Francisco reject affordable housing, it affects the neighboring region and state. We need to do more as a state to incentivize and expedite housing developments that are affordable for working Californians in the communities that need it.

During my time in the Assembly, I have authored and passed new laws to increase transit-oriented development that works to address both our housing and climate crises, to reform exorbitant fees placed on new developments that drive up costs for homebuyers, and to protect hardworking Californians from rent-gouging and unjust evictions while we work toward our ultimate goal of increasing our housing supply. This fall’s statewide housing tour has helped form a basis for policy ideas that I will be introducing when the Legislature reconvenes in January, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure California is using all tools in its toolbox to increase housing access for all.

If you’d like to learn more about my legislative work on housing, or to discuss other matters important to you, please call my Concord District Office at 925-521-1511.