Meet the New Boss: Same as The Old Boss?

On Wed., Dec. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Caldwell Meeting Room at City Hall there will be a ‘listening’ session to consider Redding’s new affordable housing initiative. With funding from the SB2 Affordable Homes and Jobs Act, the City of Redding will be getting directly involved in the accessory dwelling unit business.

Full disclosure is a bedrock tenet of the real estate profession. Full disclosure may be uncomfortable, but it’s required. So is truth in advertising. And, bait-and-switch marketing tactics aren’t allowed. I’m not saying this is happening. But I am saying many components in this proposed scheme certainly seem close to a red line.

Let’s begin with the very concept of “affordable housing”. Consider the Woodlands, one of Redding’s more recent affordable housing projects. This 55-unit apartment, constructed on donated land, reportedly cost $16 million, or $290,000 per unit. Truth in advertising: Affordable housing isn’t affordable housing, it is subsidized housing. Heavily subsidized, as a matter of fact.

Let’s move on to the source of funding for affordable housing: the newly enacted $75-per instrument recording ‘fee’. A tax is a compulsory payment levied by government. A fee is a voluntary payment by a specific group of users to cover the specific costs associated with a specific service. Somehow, the cost of recording went from $17 to $92, with the $75 difference shifted from recording documents to subsidized housing. This fee sure seems like a classic redistribution tax, which some refer to as socialism. Bait (fee for service) and switch (subsidized housing)?

Next, let’s take a look at prevailing wage, which will be required for Redding’s affordable housing endeavor. The average wage in Shasta County is $21.30 per hour. The current prevailing wage is double that, $42.67 per hour. Add health, pension, vacation, training and other costs, and the prevailing wage paid to construct affordable housing is $73.16 per hour. Prevailing wages are anything but prevailing. I trust this construction cost structure will be revealed.

Finally, consider the supposition that the market is failing to allocate resources to a public good, in this case affordable housing. In a market failure, governmental intervention is required to right a wrong. An alternative portrayal is the lack of market-based affordable housing is government failure. Housing and zoning policies so severely constrict the market’s ability to provide affordable housing that everyone, the public and government, is worse off than they would be absent excessive governmental intrusion. If the lack of affordable housing is a governmental, rather than market failure, then local policies must sufficiently change to correct this failure. What changes, beyond subsidy, are proposed?

The ‘listening’ on December 18th should be instructive.

Meet the new boss: Same as the old boss?

Don’t get fooled again, no no!

Avatar
Jeff Morrow is the operating partner of Affordable Housing Associates, and a proponent of entrepreneurial communities. Affordable Housing Associates produces accessory dwelling unit home kits, which in January will be required to be ZNE, even if located in the shade.
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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Jerry Hanlon says:

    Your short article regarding affordable housing is spot on. An “affordable” apartment costing as much as conventional housing?

  2. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    We’re gonna need subsidies and deregulation to provide enough affordable housing. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

  3. Avatar Tim says:

    If a couple earning minimum wage can buy a $285,000 house via FHA, do we really have a home affordability problem?

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Tim,

      Assuming your post is accurate, not everyone is a couple. Many are single-parent, single-income working families, and disabled and elderly individuals. There are also on-going expenses associated with home ownership that people on the lower end of the economic spectrum can’t afford.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        The point is that those who are able to work and willing to make good decisions can own their own home in the Northstate, even at minimum wage. There are safety nets to catch the rest, but those nets are not intended to compensate continuing poor life choices.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Tim,

          There are nowhere near enough well-paid jobs to go around, no matter how educated and highly trained people may become. Too many jobs are now temporary, part-time, and low-wage, which is the inevitable result of capitalism, and not of poor choices. To claim otherwise would be dishonest.

          Also, do you have any idea how many low-wage workers perform jobs without which society would collapse? There are a vast number of workers involved in the chain that bring us food, other basic necessities, gas for our vehicles, etc. etc. There aren’t enough high school students on vacation to perform all those jobs, and young people wouldn’t even be considered for some, since they are dangerous and back-breaking. Should millions of people who enable our survival be expected to live crammed wall-to-wall in substandard housing, or on the streets?

          • Avatar Tim says:

            The problem isn’t a shortage of housing or jobs, it is a surplus of people unwilling/unable to work full time and/or appropriately budget their incomes.

            Right now there are 50 apartment listings on Craigslist for $700 or less (affordable for 1 full time minimum wage worker), 283 apartments for $1400 or less (affordable for a couple), and 45 homes within 10 miles of Redding for sale for under $285k (affordable for a couple).

            Throwing millions away to build more housing won’t fix lazy, addicted, or mentally ill people being lazy, addicted, or mentally ill. Nor will it stop chronic overspenders from coming up short when the rent/mortgage comes due.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Tim, Craigslist is notoriously fraudulent for housing listings, rental or for sale. Using reputable search sites like Zillow gives a truer picture of housing options.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Tim, Zillow shows 70 rentals in Redding with only three under a thousand a month.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Thanks Bruce.

            Tim – Even assuming there are fifty rentals available at $700.00 a month, it doesn’t do much good if there are a thousand families and individuals in need of that housing (which is probably a gross underestimate),

            In addition, quite a few apartment are being snapped up by Bethel members with so-called “ministries”, who then arrange to sublet the apartments to multiple Bethel students, and pay the landlords higher rents accordingly.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            It is true that Zillow doesn’t have as much spam, but it also doesn’t have hardly any listings from mom & pop owners either (and Mom & Pops tend to have the cheaper places).

            PS: check your filters. I see 48 listings on Zillow under $1000 and 8 under $700 inside Redding city limits.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Patrecia: If there were 1,000 qualified families fighting for 50 apartments, those apartment prices wouldn’t stay below $700. There may be 1,000 people who want $700 apartments, but they aren’t earning at least full time minimum wage…

        • Avatar Levi says:

          Tim,
          This is a very FU got mine argument you have here, which is typically not the best stance you can take. It usually means you’re wrong. Did the 2009 housing bubble popping teach you nothing? Your home can be taken and it could be no real fault of your own. That’s what happened to me, a working stiff who lived in a house with 3 other working stiffs who worked together to pay rent and put food on the table, but our land lady still had the house foreclosed. We were made to be homeless by the choices of someone else. Patricia is right. We aren’t all in couples, but we still deserve a place to live. We aren’t all making MORE than minimum wage, but we still deserve a place to live (maybe even one that isn’t a literal garbage box). I did my own zillow search just to see what was in the area in my price range (which is basically nothing since having 3x the monthly rent is something that land lords use as a hard and fast rule) and I have 8 results for under 1050$ which is close to what I could afford if I had a room mate.

          I just thought I would let you know that you can still bust your a– and still not make the base line needed.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            I see a lot of excuses, but no good reasons. For 2 guys to qualify for a $1050/month rental requires them to work just 30 hours/week at minimum wage – hardly what I’d call working stiffs. And if your landlord was foreclosed upon in 2009, you would have had months to find another place before eviction.

            As for there being only 8 results under $1050, here are 7 under $700, all from Zillow:

            3503 Churn Creek Rd APT 7, Redding, CA 96002
            Apartment for rent
            $680/mo
            1 bd1 ba– sqft

            1060 East St APT 4, Redding, CA 96001
            Apartment for rent
            $695/mo
            2 bds1.5 ba1,080 sqft

            2127 Placer St, Redding, CA 96001
            Apartment for rent
            $600/mo
            1 bd1 ba1,348 sqft

            2445 Old Eureka Way APT D, Redding, CA 96001
            Apartment for rent
            $600/mo
            Studio1 ba– sqft

            2711 1/2 Reservoir Ln, Redding, CA 96002
            Townhouse for rent
            $605/mo
            1 bd1 ba500 sqft

            3400 Bechelli Ln STE E, Redding, CA 96002
            Apartment for rent
            $595/mo
            Studio– ba517 sqft

            6774 Riverland Dr, Redding, CA
            Mobile home for rent
            $460 2 bds$460 3 bds

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            As a former property manager in Redding, I can guarantee that most landlords won’t rent to room mates who aren’t close family members unless EACH of them has income three times the amount of the rent, in case one or more happen to leave. Exceptions to that rule are few and far between. The main exceptions seem to be the Bethel members (agents) who rent apartment with the goal of loading them with Bethel students (I’ve heard of as many as thirteen students in one rental, at $400.00 a person), with lucrative kick-backs to the landlords.

            Also, I recognize some of the addresses on your list. They are basically slums that rented for considerably less even a few years ago.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Patrecia, it is against California law to set different income requirements based on marriage or familial status. https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Housing/

          • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

            Levi, your story breaks my heart. So many people’s dreams were destroyed by the greed and stupidity of people in banking and on Wall Street. The culprits all made money, but thousands of people like yourself suffered . I wish you well.

    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      Tim the IF is the part in your statement that doesn’t make sense. NO ONE in our area can afford a $285k home, making Minimum Wage. You might want to get with a local lender on that one.

      Another thing we should be asking is, The property that Bethel is building out their Mega Church Center is Zoned “High Density Multi Family”. So the only place in Redding that one could build affordable housing would be on zoning comparable or even with a higher RM designation. So a HUGE chunk of Potential Affordable Apartments can not be built in the future Unless the city Rezones other land to RM-12+.

      So ARE they going to do that? Keep in mind the Bethel project is going in. With a Majority on the Council it’s a given. The question is-what are they doing to Mitigate that loss of High Density land designated for Affordable apartmens or at least apartments?

      • Avatar Tim says:

        CS: With excellent credit, no debt, and a 20% down payment, you can get a $285,000 FHA mortgage at a 3.7% APR having a household income of just $49,920 (2 people × $12/hour CA min wage × 40 hours/week × 52 weeks/year).

        Of course you won’t be able to maintain that debt/income ratio if you finance cars, art degrees, or designer clothing. And most people would need to scrimp & save ~5 years to build up that down payment…

        • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

          “…and a 20% down payment…”

          Aye, there’s the rub. All that is needed is a mere $57,000 down payment.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Even super socialist Elizabeth Warren advocates saving 20% of your income. With a little interest, that’s just 5 years…

            And if you had been putting much of that 20% into retirement like you should, the government would have been subsidizing your savings in the form of you paying lower taxes all along the way, stretching your budget further (even more so if your employer offers matching 401k contributions). You can then borrow from your 401k and IRA for your down payment.

            Here’s a quick & doable, though austere, budget for a minimum wage couple looking to save 20%:

            $3750 income after tax (will need to tweak withholding, but this is about what you should take home to get zero refund)
            ——-
            $800 rent (nice 1 bedroom)
            $50 utilities (discounted rate for low income)
            $100 2 cell phones & plans (discounted rate for low income)
            $350 repairs/depreciation on two 15 year old economy import cars
            $75 car insurance (liability only)
            $225 gas
            $450 groceries (brown bag lunches)
            $50 clothing (thrift & discount store)
            $100 medical
            $150 emergency savings
            $350 long term savings
            $350 retirement savings
            ———
            $700 monthly discretionary spending

            What it excludes:
            $100/month average cost of tv subscriptions
            $50/month average cost of home internet (covered by mobile plans)
            $100/month average American spends on coffee
            $150/month average American spends on pets
            $233/month average American spends eating out
            $50/month average American spends on gym membership
            $100/month average American spends on interest on consumer debt

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Are you actually trying to claim that an individual working for minimum wage brings home more than three thousand dollars a month? You’re WAY off.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            No, a couple each earning minimum wage.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Only about one-third of American adults are married. What about the other two-thirds?

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Those that remain single will need to settle on a ~$142,000 house, earn a lot more than minimum wage, give up their dreams of home ownership, or find compatible people with whom they can share the rest of their lives.

            Obtaining better housing is just one of the many benefits of being & remaining in a traditional family structure. 45% of American adults are married today, down from ~80% before LBJ’s “Great Society” programs & a rise in radical feminism enabled, if not encouraged, single motherhood.

            But that is a societal issue – not home affordability…

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Actually the number of marriages peaked to a record high in the 1980’s, and has been falling steadily since then. This seems to coincide with women becoming more educated and able to take care of themselves.

            The birth rate has also fallen dramatically among the more educated (who are getting married later, and having fewer children, if any at all). A good chunk of the births are now among less educated victims of religion, who are discouraged from using birth control and availing themselves of abortion.

            It’s interesting that of people who had previously been married, only 26 percent choose to get married again. I think that’s especially true of women, who are now less inclined to stay in a marriage where they are being abused and/or (despite having full-time jobs themselves) are expected to assume the bulk of the housework and childcare duties, and still find time every day to pander to some man’s ego.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            If singles can take care of themselves, why are you complaining they can’t afford homes?

            PS: The percentage adults that were married peaked in the late 40s & early 50s, but due to population growth the raw number of married adults is now the highest ever (there are nearly as many married adults in the US today as the entire US population in 1950) https://www.statista.com/statistics/183663/number-of-married-couples-in-the-us/

          • Avatar Common Sense says:

            I know right. 7 Years just to save the down payment in Tim’s example. That is IF nothing comes up like an emergency car repair or Hospital bill etc. So Realistically 3-5% can afford a home on Minimum wage with both working. If they don’t have kids!

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Tim, you like to quote stats. How many min wage earners have excellent credit, no debt and $55,000 cash. 0%.
          Affordable housing is about rentals not buying.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            I know a number of people that bought 250k+ homes on ~ 50k income in Redding – it isn’t that uncommon. In fact, $50k is about the median household income for Redding.

            The underlying point is that home affordability is not the cause of homelessness. If it was, why does Detroit have 20,000 homeless despite 80,000 vacant units and homes selling for as little as $20,000?

    • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

      Tim, when I run the numbers I get different results. The couple earning minimum wage could possibly get this house if they first spend several years saving for the down, don’t have children or any other medical expense, and had no plans for furnishing the house. They also have to have 30 years to pay off the loan, which many older people do not have after they lost their home in the housing crash. They both have to have full time minimum wage jobs in Redding which is a trick. Many employers hire people for 3.75 hours a day.
      Renting an apartment these day is different than when I moved to Redding with $300 in my pocket. You need the first and the last rent check, cleaning deposit, need to undergo a background check, have good credit, no pet, and prove you have a job. I could not have rented when I first came to Redding in this new era. I am now finding it hard to find a home after we lost our home in the Carr Fire.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        I am reminded of the old children’s song “there’s a hole in my bucket…” Much to the detriment of their dreams, the Henry’s of the world will always find and fixate on obstacles rather than using a little extra motivation to find solutions.

        Part of making good decisions is holding off on having extra responsibilities like children (or even pets) until you can support them. And saving – years – for a down payment is not magic, it used to be the expectation. Very few people who put 20% down in the mid 2000s lost their home in the 2007-2009 crash. Instead it was mainly those demanding instant gratification buying homes with risky instruments like adjustable rate low/no down mortgages. Blame greedy banks all you want, but it took greedy consumers too. And by the way, this was over 10 years ago – it is well past time to stop using it as an excuse today.

        But let’s say you do find yourself with kids in a household working 2 minimum wage jobs. Saving a 20% down payment will realistically take too long, but you can still get a FHA loan with as little as 3.5% down. Unfortunately since it is riskier for lenders you will pay higher interest and now have to pay mortgage insurance. How will that affect how much home you can afford? Drastically. Your inability to save means that despite having the same income you’re now looking at a $200,000 house, not $285,000. There are still homes for under $200,000 in Redding, but not many. And if you want to be in a good school district, let’s just say it won’t be your dream house… On the plus side, money that you had been throwing away on rent will now slowly be building equity in your home.

        As for jobs, full time jobs do exist – even entry level. I see current full time openings in Redding for tire & oil change techs, dealership lot porters, ihss & convalescent aides, receptionists, entry level property management positions, etc. I also know of many part time seasonal jobs that can turn into full time work for those that are hard working & reliable – often for significantly more than minimum wage. And then there are higher paying jobs for those who have completed just a week or few extra training: forklift operator, truck driver, bus driver, security guard, typing certificates, MS Office or Quickbooks certs, etc. This training can often be obtained for free through employers or the EDD. Just because McDonald’s only schedules 3 hour shifts to avoid paying for breaks doesn’t mean that’s all that is out there…

        And furnishings? I can pretty much furnish an entire house from the Craigslist Free section which lists: 5 Sofas, futon, 4 recliners, 5 desks, queen bed, king bed, twin bed, bowflex, dining table, 4 chairs, book shelf, desk lamp, ceiling fan, 2 entertainment centers, office chair, an aquarium, & a barbecue.

        There is a hole in Henry’s bucket, but fixing it won’t do any good in the long term unless you’re able to somehow teach him to fix it and other minor hurdles, in the future. Building more housing won’t:

        1) cure addition or mental illness
        2) cause the unambitious to work more than the bare minimum to keep themselves afloat
        3) overcome the financial illiteracy & poor budgeting skills of those that do work

        Worse, I fear these housing programs just enable more of the above.

        • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

          Thanks for your lengthy reply Tim. I would have loved to have someone like you come to my math classes and explain all of this. Your list of available jobs in Redding is amazing. I would have liked to share this with my students.
          I had a “real living” unit I did with every class….students found an entry level job in the newspaper or on the internet. They calculated what they could spend on housing (a much higher percentage of their earnings than even 2 decades ago) and then find a job and find a place to live in Redding. Most students learned that they would have to share housing until they could save up money for anything.

  4. Avatar Jeff Morrow says:

    Staff has a pot of money to spend next year on affordable housing…just under $2 million.

    Who will get the money, how is it spend? Good questions. Equally important, what about people that want to convert their garage, or build and ADU without government money?

    What’s important is to NOT let the affordable housing issue be defined only by government money. Anyone interested in adding a granny flat should tune in…

  5. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    As I recall, more than half of the financing for the Woodlands (which the State had to basically force NIMBYist local officials to approve) came from the Mental Health Services Act – the voter-approved one percent tax on millionaires intended to provide housing for the mentally ill homeless and near-homeless. Up to that point the millions of dollars that poured into Shasta County each year through the MHSA went largely to “prevention” programs with little to no accountability or proven results.

    Also, I believe the sole contribution the City of Redding made to this project was the donation of the under-utilized scrub land where the complex is located.

    The “market” will never provide affordable housing as long as prospective tenants overwhelm available rentals. The area’s housing supply was just beginning to recover from the City’s massive gentrification binge early in the last decade when we began to see an ever-increasing number of Bethel students and other of its adherents flooding the area by the thousands. Redding’s rental vacancy rate was less than two percent, even before last year’s devastating fires. It would certainly help to lower rents and increase the availability of housing for the actual locals if Bethel would use some of its $60.8 million annual income to provide and maintain housing for some portion of its followers.

    Subsidized supportive housing (as oppposed to simply leaving people on the streets) has been proven to save local taxpayers millions of dollars a year, and is well worth the investment (not just in dollars, but in salvaging human potential).

    • Avatar James Montgomery says:

      Question-where is the proof that subsidized supportive housing has been proven to save local taxpayers millions of dollars a year? Facts, please. It may be true, but seems counter-intuitive to me.
      Also, are we talking about subsidizing people with jobs, or avidly looking for them, but who cannot find or afford housing? Or chronically unemployed, drunk and homeless? How about the insane? These classes of homeless present very different problems.
      From an economic standpoint, you can subsidize all you want, but until the actual cost of building housing is reduced, the costs must be paid by someone. Local taxpayers?
      Salvaging human potential is an absolutely worthwhile goal. How to do it is not so certain, but I am glad for all of the local folks trying to do that, both secular and religious.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        James,

        Homelessness is expensive. Homeless people suffer from far more life-threatening illnesses, use emergency services at much higher levels, and are frequently the victims of violence requiring medical attention. Any of the alteratives to supportive housing are a lot more expensive than housing these people (housing which can be quite minimal). In addition, there is the cost of law enforcement responses, other emergency personnel, and homeless camp clean-ups.

        The Woodlands complex (mentioned in the article above) is a combination of low-income working families and the mentally ill (which was necessary in order to access Mental Health Services Act funding). The purpose of supportive housing is to provide on-site services that address the needs of everyone who lives there – as the Woodlands successfully does.

        https://www.homelesshub.ca/costofhomelessness

        • Avatar James Montgomery says:

          Ok, I read the homeless advocate website you posted. Ignoring the fact that they are quite partisan, their numbers do not appear well-supported. Bald statements of figures, unsupported by studies. The studies may exist, but they are not cited. For one thing, there is no direct comparison of subsidization costs versus emergency services cost. For another, there is no evidence that these people will use emergency services any less if they are housed.
          I remain unconvinced by evidence, but open-minded. The Woodlands complex appears to be a good test-case. Hopefully they will retain their value, being well taken care of by the residents. Has anybody done any analysis of the cost of subsidization for this, or of hospitalizations and police call rates for the residents? It would be interesting to see real cost/benefit analysis.
          Frankly, I would like to be convinced of the viability of the Woodlands, as the working poor are certainly help-able, and the insane have my own heartfelt sympathy. I got to know some of them fairly well when I lived downtown. The cost to taxpayers is high, tho. $290,000 per apartment is pretty pricey.
          I believe real long-term solutions require getting the cost of housing down.

          • Avatar James Montgomery says:

            My apologies. There actually is quantitative analysis attached to this website, tho it is well-buried. I went looking deeper. The Newcastle, England, program has apparently been studied systematically, for one thing. The study is quite long, and will take a little time to review.
            The concept of “housing first” may well have some validity. Intuitively, it is, indeed, hard to find and keep employment if you cannot get a shower and a meal. What percentage of the homeless can be helped this way remains to be seen.
            Here is the Newcastle study-
            https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Housing%20and%20homelessness/Homelessness%20Prevention%20Trailblazer/Homelessness%20prevention%20in%20Newcastle%20-%20Examining%20the%20role%20of%20the%20local%20state%20-%20full%20report.pdf

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            James,

            There are so many studies – I just happened to choose a link that was simple and visual. I’ve posted another link below that goes into quite a bit more detail.

            And even without all the verification it’s just plain common sense that people who are struggling to survive round-the-clock exposure to frigid temperatures (common in Shasta County during the winter), who are malnurished, often ill, and suffer from extreme sleep deprivation, whose daily lives center around trying to find a safe place to sleep where they might escape the violence homeless people are frequently subjected to, and who often have physical and mental illnesses that are greatly exacerbated by homelessness will be using emergency services to a much greater extent than “housed” people. Homelessness is incredibly traumatic and stressful.

            https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/03/13/giving-homes-to-the-homeless-is-cheaper-than-leaving-them-on-the-street-heres-proof/

          • Avatar James Montgomery says:

            Well, I seriously doubt the economic feasibility of just giving houses to the homeless, but I have not yet read the research, so I will withhold judgment.
            Without a doubt, there are a lot of young people struggling who could use a break. There are also a lot of indolent scammers, just working the system.
            Thank you for the information links. I will review at least some of them.
            In the meantime, I guess I’m feeling pretty foolish for working so hard all those years for our nice little $105,000 cottage, when we could have just gone out on the street for awhile, and the government would have given us an apartment worth times as much.

          • Avatar James Montgomery says:

            three times as much.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            James,

            Chronically homeless people (homeless for years) with severe physical or mental disabilities are generally prioritized for this housing. I don’t think you’d want to go through what they’ve been through just to get a minimalist apartment.

            In addition, once these people are housed, stable, safe, and are no longer malnourished, ill, sleep deprived, and living in fear of violence, many do actually avail themselves of the services offered and move on.

  6. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Affordable housing is a struggle in cities with a lot more options available than Redding. Even Utah’s successful Housing First has come on hard times.
    Increases in the homeless/poor, lack of funding and Nimbyism are the culprits. This is true everywhere.

  7. Avatar Jeff Morrow says:

    Starting in 2017, housing policy at the State level required local governments to allow ADUs. Little happened because prohibitive tangential rules remained and state policy had no teeth. For example, the rules required fire suppression, necessitating replacing water meter and service lines with a larger size to accommodate fire sprinkler pressure. Next came lot width, or strict similarity, or replacement parking, or height, or owner occupancy…on and on. Plus, FHA and VA loans didn’t accept the income or the asset value. Cash was the only financing option. Little happened, the potential for market based affordability was sacked.

    The State, recognizing these realities, issued new rules effective January 1 that slice local prohibitions to nothing. Starting in January, anyone should be able to convert a garage to a rental, or put up an ADU with a different roof line than the main house, lot size won’t matter any more, etc. State rules are absolutely permissive and now have teeth. Local governments that don’t follow state rules will see funding cut, and can be sued.

    Lending rules were changed as well. Now, ADU income counts toward qualification, and the asset value counts as well. Financing for ADUs is now readily available under normal, standard underwriting guidelines. The financing roadblock was removed.

    The State is providing big bucks to make things happen. Governmental money can do a lot, but the market can do so much more.
    The word is “Yes, you can!” It’s incumbent on the market to take government at its word and make things happen.

    Go ahead, convert your garage and rent it out. Build an ADU in your back yard. And, let the same rules that apply to government programs apply to the market. Allow pre-approved plans. Accept garage conversions without applying 2020 earthquake requirements. Let an ADU’s solar panels feed the main structure without having to sell power back to REU cheap and buy back at the house expensive.

    The ‘listening’ is one place to ask these questions, and listen to the answer.

    As for homelessness:

    Mr. Pendleton, the speaker from Housing First in Utah, started his presentation by noting different categories of homeless. There is every reason to believe that, given this opportunity, the market will provide humble, yet adequate housing at a price point that meets the needs of SSI recipients. Unsubsidized affordable housing can, and will be constructed.

    Meanwhile, the hard-core drug addict or the mentally ill require more than housing. That’s another topic completely.

    One last thing, and I’ll shut up: Affordability.

    The standard cost breakdown for new construction is: 1/3 land and soft costs, 1/3 labor, and 1/3 material. Gone are lot costs, permit costs, impact fees, school fees, sidewalk construction, sewer and water connect fees, etc. That’s big money saved. Construction material cost what it costs, but a small house uses far less. As for labor…DIY can create true equity.

    Market based affordability (MBA) is within easy reach.

    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      What do you mean- Gone are lot costs, permit costs, impact fees, school fees, sidewalk construction, sewer and water connect fees, etc. That’s big money saved? The city having two mill to work with is not a lot of money.

      55-unit apartment, constructed on donated land, reportedly cost $16 million, or $290,000 per unit. That’s absolute INSANITY that price per door!

      Change some Zoning. Bring in 500 Shipping Containers and make homes out of them for $50k a door! Why do they have to have a Taj Mahal for affordable housing? Same builder as the Taj Mahal by chance? Where is the Perfect Location for the Shipping Container Community to solve all these problems you ask? The PGE owned land off North Court Street! Close to downtown and services and shopping etc. PGE is in enough hot water….get them to Donate that Land!

  8. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Jeff, I liked and didn’t understand a lot of your article, but your last comment helped me make sense of this legislation. Would that I had a home and a garage to convert. I think there are hundreds of home owners who would be happy to convert parts of their property to accessory housing units for students or their kids who come back home. How is this information being shared in the “News Desert” that is Redding?

    • Joanne, to answer your last question, regarding a “news desert” I’m proud to point out that ANC is supplying a platform for crucial information that Jeff Morrow is sharing with us here today.

      • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

        Doni, I used that term because I think Jeff invented it. I certainly don’t include ANC in this descriptive term. I’m still curious how the county will distribute this information to homeowners.

  9. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Hopefully we will see more informative websites that show actual costs and estimated rents VS expenses etc on the Authors topic.

    https://www.hausable.com/place/shasta-ca-482573168

    Financing will be the KEY to this living addition!

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