Yes on Prop 1: Housing for California

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Proposition 1, like Santa Rosa’s Measure N, is one in a series of steps needed to ease California’s housing crunch. Proposition 1, a $4 billion bond act on the Nov. 6 ballot, includes $3 billion to build and renovate affordable housing, including farmworker housing, and to provide down-payment assistance for low- and moderate-income home buyers. The remaining $1 billion would recharge Cal-Vet, the state’s century-old mortgage program for military veterans.

Why is it necessary? California needs about 180,000 new housing units every year to keep up with population growth, but only about half of that has been built over the past decade. The results include average homes costing 2½ times the national average, rents running 50 percent above the national average — and people being priced out of the market.

Proposition 1 would make money available to private developers, nonprofit organizations and local governments to build housing that struggling families can afford. It also includes $450 million in grant money to upgrade infrastructure for high-density, infill developments near public transit.

Santa Rosa should be in good position to compete for a share of this funding if voters also approve Measure N to fund affording housing efforts here. And local veterans would qualify for reduced-interest loans to buy homes and farms under Cal-Vet, a program that pays for itself while rewarding those who volunteer to serve their country. Thumbs up.

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