Tag: 2022-05-nn-roundup

More than 116,000 SF residents moved away during pandemic’s first year

By Mike Schneider, Associated Press, March 24, 2022

“[T]ens of thousands of residents … vacated some of the nation’s biggest, most densely populated and costly metropolitan areas in favor of Sun Belt destinations during the first full year of the pandemic, from mid-2020 to mid-2021, according to new data released [on March 24th] by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The exodus from the biggest U.S. metropolitan areas was led by New York, which lost almost 328,000 residents. It was driven by people leaving for elsewhere, even though the metro area gained new residents from abroad and births outpaced deaths.

“San Francisco saw a loss of more than 116,000 residents.

“The San Jose, Boston, Miami, and Washington areas also lost tens of thousands of residents, primarily from people moving away.

“The U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 estimates also showed micro areas — defined as having a core city of less than 50,000 residents — gaining population from mid-2020 to mid-2021, after years of slow growth or declining population. The small population gains were driven by people moving there, as deaths continued to outpace births in many of these communities. … According to data released earlier this year from the California Policy Lab, Idaho saw the biggest increase in move-ins from San Franciscans during the pandemic.”

Read the full article here(~2 min.)

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Audit: California overlooked potential affordable housing sites

By Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News Service, March 22, 2022

“As San Francisco considers a proposal to shelter its entire homeless population, a state audit found [on March 22] that a California agency overlooked potential affordable housing sites that could help alleviate the state’s crushing housing crisis.

“In 2019, then-newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that surplus state-owned property be prioritized as possible sites for affordable housing. The Department of General Services (DGS) identified 92 suitable parcels and has moved forward with plans to convert 19 of them into housing, which could create more than 1,700 new affordable housing units.

“[The report] found DGS failed to communicate with certain state entities, such as the University of California and California State University, that are not directly controlled by the executive branch.

“Citing insufficient staff at DGS, the report estimated it will take the department seven years to move forward with 73 other surplus state properties that could provide an additional 30,000 new affordable housing units.

“To ensure a more effective method for reviewing surplus state land is used in the future, the audit recommends passing a state law that would mandate those assessments occur periodically. Newsom’s 2019 executive order was a one-shot deal and did not require regular reviews of excess state property.

“A spokesperson for state Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who has pushed forward multiple pieces of legislation focused on combatting the state’s housing crisis, said the senator had no comment on the audit’s legislative recommendation.”

Read the full article here(~5 min.)

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Santa Clara County buys land for more affordable housing

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, March 22, 2022

“Santa Clara County is acquiring more land to build hundreds of affordable homes for disadvantaged residents.

“On [March 22], the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to purchase four properties in San Jose, Santa Clara, and Morgan Hill, which will cost the county more than $17 million and provide 324 apartments.

“The projects represent an ongoing campaign to build up the region’s housing stock for veterans, agricultural workers, seniors, and people with developmental disabilities. The projects will be partly financed through funds from Measure A — an affordable housing bond approved by voters in 2016.

“One of the sites approved for purchase is … in Morgan Hill. This project calls for 73 new apartments: 18 to rehouse homeless individuals and families, 24 for households earning very low income, and 30 for agricultural workers.

“Another site is … in Santa Clara. This project will provide 80 apartments, including permanent housing for homeless seniors, and seniors making up to [half] the area median income.

“Recent efforts to build housing in Santa Clara without county assistance have been stymied by residents. Last November, the City Council rejected a proposal to build 60 units of transitional housing after scores of residents — some coordinating their talking points in a [private online chatroom] — spoke out against the idea during a city meeting.”

Read the full article here(~4 min.)

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VTA bets big on housing in Santa Clara County

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, March 19, 2022

“Earlier [in March], VTA announced several significant updates about housing projects being built on agency-owned land, also known as transit-oriented developments (TODs).

“By leasing surplus land near light rail stations to private developers or government housing agencies, VTA hopes to collect steady revenue from leases and new riders. The transportation agency sees this as a strategy to address the regional housing shortage and its own financial problems.

“The agency is betting big on this vision: VTA currently has nine residential projects in various stages of progress or completion in San Jose, Mountain View, and Gilroy. VTA has 25 total sites eligible for future development. By 2040, the agency anticipates it will have more than 7,000 residences — 2,500 listed as affordable — garnering almost $60 million per year in additional revenue.

“Former San Jose Councilmember and VTA board member Johnny Khamis said he is generally supportive of transit-oriented developments, but noted they pose challenges like any housing project.

“ ‘Unless they get an understanding of what they need to do to fix the problem of why nobody wants to ride light rail, these new housing projects aren’t going to keep them out of the hole,’ Khamis told San José Spotlight.

“Last year, [State Sen. Dave Cortese] introduced a bill signed into law, Senate Bill 791, which created a special unit in the state department of housing to help local agencies like VTA develop surplus land into housing.”

Read the full article here(~3 min.)

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How the Bay Area’s 25 largest cities rank on ‘quality of life’ metrics

By Amy Coval, San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 2022

“We based our rankings on 11 qualities for which there is widely available data. These measures include: bars, bike score, racial and ethnic diversity, distance to the nearest airport, number of food retailers, libraries, movie theaters, percentage of residents within a half-mile of a park or open space, percentage of residents with less than a 30 minute commute to work, transit stops, and walk score.

“While we would have liked to include many other measures, such as air quality and pet-friendliness, data wasn’t always available.

“Based on our index, Alameda is the top-ranking city in the Bay Area. But the city’s top-tier status comes with a caveat: It doesn’t take affordability into account, an important measure for most people, particularly in the pricey Bay Area.

“The data shows Oakland may give you the best quality of life for your money, while San Ramon will charge you top dollar despite being on the lower end of The Chronicle’s 11 measures.

“Walkable cities also tend to score higher on economic, environmental, and health measures. The Chronicle analyzed walk score data from WalkScore.com.”

Read the full article here, including bar charts ranking each of the Bay Area’s 25 largest cities across 11 indicators. (~4 min.)

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