Housing shortage crimping city’s economic growth

Fearing the county’s housing shortage is slowing local economic growth and hampering social equity, local officials plan to host a summit Thursday to weigh long-term solutions both at the county and state levels.

Topics up for discussion will include the need to develop dedicated housing funds, possibly through sales or property taxes, according to officials. “I think everything is on the table, and while no one likes to think in terms of increased taxes, this is a serious problem,” said Supervisor Mark Church.

“This may be the single most important issue facing our county today,” Church said.

Supervisors hope the attendance of state and local housing experts, as well as local Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, who chairs the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, will help prompt the state to look for a comprehensive solution.

The county’s estimated shortage of about 126,000 homes — equal to half its current housing stock, when compared to the local job base — is only a microcosm of what’s going on across the Bay Area and throughout the state, according to Chris Mohr, executive director of the county Housing Endowment and Regional Trust.

Throughout the Bay Area, jobs outnumber households by 1 million, according to the most recent figures from the county Housing Endowment and Regional Trust.

And the state needs between 60,000 and 80,000 more housing units every year than it currently produces, according to a 2005 report by Housing California, a statewide trust.

Attend the public forum from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the San Mateo County Hall of Justice, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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