Housing is one of the most complex and pressing issues in Santa Cruz. I am an advocate for affordable housing and believe that our community needs a comprehensive housing program that addresses the concurrent challenges of a lack of available housing for low-income residents, a deficit of UCSC on-campus student housing, and a large houseless population. The high cost of home ownership is driven by our attractive environment, and because we are one of the smallest communities hosting a UC campus. Over 50% of our homes are rentals, possibly the highest rate for any of the 30 cities with which I have worked.
I will focus in these areas:
Support state proposition 1 and local proposition H on the November ballot. Both bond
measures create new sources of affordable housing revenue available to Santa Cruz and other cities on a competitive basis, requiring us to leverage local funding and project opportunities to maximize Santa Cruz resources. I have led and approved the development of affordable housing projects at both the local and state level.
Require UCSC to house more of its students. 77% of the voters on last June’s Measure “U” ballot measure made it clear that Santa Cruz is not willing to consider further student population growth at UCSC. The City and University must first work together to create housing for existing students, and explore both public and private student housing on and off campus.
Pursue reasonable tenant protections. I am opposed to Measure M. It does not address the underlying issues to address our escalating rental costs, and will worsen our housing crisis. I support reasonable tenant protections and as councilmember would lead efforts to convene both tenants and
homeowners to identify realistic solutions. I managed a successful rent relief program in Los Gatos.
Build more affordable housing. The Tannery Arts Center Apartments was the last significant affordable housing project built in Santa Cruz. I recommended approval of that in 2007 as Santa Cruz’s Community Development Director. Today, we must find new affordable housing solutions tied to the redevelopment of Downtown and surrounding areas. We must leverage new market-based housing to provide its required share of affordable units, investing affordable housing bond resources and other monies to provide even greater levels of affordability.
Streamline ADU and small unit approvals. We must scale the City’s review process for smaller projects. In addition, the City should explore fee deferrals for both small and large projects exceeding the City’s affordable housing requirements.