Walnut Creek's Affordable Housing Issue
Apr 04, 2017 08:47AM
● By Jennifer Neys
At the March 7 city council meeting, Housing Program Manager Margot Ernst provided a housing and affordable housing overview. She discussed Walnut Creek affordability, existing and future city policies and programs, and alternate funding sources. City staff requested council feedback on prioritizing programs to address the city’s housing needs. Discussion included the need for community outreach, incentives to encourage construction of homes more affordable by design, anti-displacement strategies, and expedited review of affordable housing.
“We need to focus on outreach and educate the community that affordable housing is not going to decline their housing values, and it isn’t going to change how they live; it’s going to enrich our community. We need displacement strategies ready to go. We need to make sure our community takes care of those people who need that additional help,” said Councilmember Loella Haskew. Councilmember Kevin Wilk agreed and added, “Development is now the number one issue I hear from the public. I would like to see us, along with community outreach, look at expedited reviews and permitting for affordable housing and the private-public partnerships.”
Councilmember Cindy Silva said, “We are hearing a lot of push back about development and more housing; people don’t want it in their neighborhood.... That becomes a problem because it is just creating expensive housing and an environment where, at a macro level in this state, if we do not start building more housing, we are going to start to see the unraveling of the state’s economy.”