AEL Newsletter – September 6, 2019

Housing Forum on September 19, 2019

Hard working, tax paying families are spending more than 50% of their incomes on shelter here in Placer County.  That hurts to even think about. But it is sad fact of life in this County which, is incidentally, the 22nd most costly housing market in the nation.  It is hard to imagine where and how the people that occupy the myriad of low paying jobs in our County survive. What can we do about this? How can we change decades of economic discrimination? What is the barrier to production of homes priced for working families?

Our County is inviting the public to comment on an Affordable Housing Strategy (comments are due on September 27th) to address what is commonly considered a housing crisis among us.  This is an invitation to a Housing Forum that will help us prepare those comments.

The Alliance for Environmental Leadership (AEL)  is a coalition of community influencers and organizations determined to reframe the way our community grows through citizen advocacy that amplifies the voices for housing and environmental justice.  We produced the attached Phase 1 and 2 Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan; which pulls back the curtain on housing development in Placer County and reveals that over a period of many decades, the majority of our citizens have experienced economic discrimination, rooted largely in the homogeny of the price-y single family housing-product that sprawls across our formerly green fields.

The County’s Affordable Strategy will produce a mere 132 units of affordable housing each year for the next 20 years.  The Strategy will also require developers who are transforming our farmlands into subdivisions to allocate a mere 10% of the thousands of units that they build to “affordable housing” – affordable means people making an annual salary of $76,000 or less and spend 30% of their gross income on housing.   81% of the people in our County have earnings that put them in the affordable housing price range.

Additionally, the County is proposing to allow homes on wheels – also known as “tiny houses” to be placed on existing developed lots. We are concerned that these tiny homes are unsuitable shelter for families and have the potential to adversely impact the neighborhoods into which they are installed. We are concerned with waste disposal and monitoring/regulating of these tiny homes which are built to RV standards – not the standards established for permanent homes.

We need to learn more about the housing market so that we can make informed comments on the County’s “Strategy” so AEL has planned an Affordable Housing Forum for the community. Please come to the Placer Co. Government Center 3091 Government Center Dr. on September 19th at 6:30 PM. and get informed about the housing crisis in our midst. The Forum will help us to make  informed comments on our Placer County Affordable Housing Strategy before the comment deadline (Sept. 27). The Planning Commission’s has also scheduled a public hearing on the Strategy on September 18th.

We’re looking forward to your attendance at the Alliance for Environmental Leadership’s (AEL) Affordable Housing Forum and thankful to Architect Mike Lehmberg and the wonderful line-up of speakers he has invited to the Forum.  The Forum flyer is attached.  Please share it and post it where you grab your morning coffee!

Our Forum goal is to understand 1) what is happening in our housing market, 2) how it affects working families’ and everybody else”s ability to thrive and 3) how we can remedy this situation. At the Forum, private sector developers and architects will address the impact of sprawl zoning, tariffs, processing fees, land cost and our County’s failure to lead on affordable housing production.  What will it take to cause developers to produce homes for the people that live here? Professionals from the private sector will share their experiences in and insights into the housing market and relate it to the data pertinent to Placer County’s population as described in Phase 2 of the Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan.

So, we’ll plan to see you on September 19th 6:30 at the Placer Co. Government Center 3091 Government Center Dr. in Auburn. We are most grateful for you for joining us and are excited to bring folks together to consider remedies for our affordable housing needs.  Housing insecurity is a crisis in Placer County and it is incumbent upon us, informed citizens, to set us on a path where workers and their families can live and thrive here.  Our AEL Housing Forum will give us the resources we need to advocate for housing justice and make sure that the County’s Affordable Housing Strategy works for all.

Together we’re a stronger voice



Lslie Warren, Chair

Alliance for Environmental Leadership


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