Housing Update: City of Sacramento Hosts Workshop on Supply Issues

In response to the City of Sacramento’s mounting housing crisis, on August 14 the Sacramento City Council hosted a Housing Workshop focused on how best to increase the supply of affordable housing within the central city. The workshop consisted of two parts: a staff presentation and a panel discussion made up of private, public and non-profit sector representatives.

Workshop Panelists included:

  • Jeree Glasser-Hedrick, Director of Business and Government at CalHFA
  • Ben Metcalf, Director at the California Housing and Community Development Agency
  • Deborah Ruane, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at the San Diego Housing Commission
  • Scott Syphax, Syphax Strategic
  • Tyrone Williams, Director of Development at SHRA

During the staff presentation, Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso shared that while the economy has been on the path to recovery, construction of new housing has not kept pace. The situation was compounded by the recruitment of talent for high paying construction jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area which affected Sacramento projects both in cost and timelines.  Much of the panel’s focus and discussion was on the dramatic decline in public sources of financing for affordable housing over the last decade, partially due to the decline of economic redevelopment funds, and possible solutions to mitigate those losses.

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The second half of the workshop provided an opportunity for City Council to ask questions around how to increase supply quickly, including the possible utilization of vacant lots, accessory dwelling units and increasing housing finance options through a bolstered Housing Trust Fund. Mayor Steinberg poised the scenario that if the City theoretically had $100 million to devote to housing development, how might that be leveraged into $600 million to $700 million from other sources based on case studies in other jurisdictions. In turn, these funds could be used to develop more than 2,600 new housing units.

Metro Chamber CEO Amanda Blackwood testified during public comment stating that housing supply is vital for our region, both to retain and recruit a ready workforce.

“The shortage of affordable housing is restricting growth, inflicting economic damage, and causing our workforce to seek opportunities elsewhere,” said Amanda Blackwood.

Blackwood’s comments were based directly on numerous interviews with Metro Chamber Members on how housing is affecting business. In addition, both Metro Chamber and Metro EDGE distributed surveys for input from membership on their housing needs.

After surveying Metro EDGE members, it was found that 43% reported spending at least 30% of their income on rent. When surveying broader membership, it was found that a need for housing is the second most common issue managers hear from their employees behind wages and compensation. It’s become clear that many of our young professionals and business owners are being negatively impacted by the lack of housing options in the Capital Region.

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On September 4 at 5 p.m., the City will conduct a second workshop focused on rent stabilization. To learn more, visit www.engagesac.org.