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Report: Affordable Housing Gap Getting Worse in Sacramento County

A new report by two nonprofit groups indicates Sacramento County’s affordable housing supply has a considerable gap, and tools to close it are harder to find.

According to the report by the California Housing Partnership Corp. and theSacramento Housing Alliance, the supply of affordable homes for very low-income and extremely low-income families is almost 53,000 units short of demand, based on federal Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data from 2006 to 2010.

The report also noted the county’s median rent rose by 12 percent from 2000 to 2012, while the median income dropped by 13 percent, pushing more people into the category of needing affordable housing.

“Together, stagnant wages and steeply increasing housing costs have pushed many low-income households’ budgets to the breaking point,” the report states. Those making less than $34,250, the median income for a three-person household in the county, includes nursing assistants, cooks and security guards.

At the same time as rents have risen and wages have stagnated, the report states, mechanisms to address affordable housing have retracted, from the end of redevelopment to cuts in federal community development block grants.

To address the situation, the report recommended a number of strategies at both the state and local level. State lawmakers should offer new housing bonds, allow local governments to more easily pass measures for local infrastructure and use cap-and-trade monies to encourage transit-oriented development.

For local governments, needed steps include stronger inclusionary housing policies, use what money remains from redevelopment tax-increment financing for affordable housing, and looking for new sources of funding, such as a transient occupancy tax, according to the report.