Together the Coachella Valley is ready to solve our affordable housing challenge

In summary

A housing network has been created to leverage resources and produce 10,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

Chad Mayes, Special at CalMatters

Assembly member Chad Mayes, an independent from Yucca Valley, represents 42sd Assembly District, [email protected].

An affordable housing crisis has long plagued the Coachella Valley. Even before the pandemic devastated our local economy, more than a third of tenants were spending more than half of their income keeping a roof over their heads.

Housing in the West Coachella Valley can be prohibitive, meaning rent is out of the reach of working families. On the east side, the lack of adequate water and sewerage infrastructure limits development or forces families to live in mobile home parks which too often experience inhuman conditions.

Today, many families who depended on our thriving tourism economy are out of work. People of color and families with children have been hit hardest: applicants for housing assistance disproportionately identify as Hispanic / Latino, female heads of household or parents of children under 5.

Top-down approaches cannot always deliver the results our regions need. While California has taken action to address urgent housing needs, more direct action is needed.

How do we leverage our resources to accelerate housing development and transform our Coachella Valley into a place where all of our neighbors can not only afford to live, but also thrive?

The solution is … together.

Summoned by Lift to climb and in partnership with Riverside County’s Housing Authority and the nine cities of Coachella Valley, a group of over 50 stakeholders have come together to do just that. Together, this Housing Stability Collaborative Action Network has put forward a bold vision to produce 10,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

To achieve this goal, this network organized the Coachella Valley Housing Catalyst Initiative, a bold policy agenda that envisions a new way of delivering affordable housing projects beyond piecemeal and cumbersome processes that have yet to result in development. inclusive and equitable.

In March 2020, we identified 44 affordable housing projects blocked in the region. We identified what it would take to move them – access to flexible, low-cost capital. Our vision is to create a $ 100 million Coachella Valley Housing Catalyst Fund to launch projects in this pipeline that would otherwise remain stagnant, initially starting with 2,000 housing units.

Without this coordinated and assertive intervention, more than $ 800 million in housing investment is stranded in the valley.

But we cannot do it alone.

To kickstart this effort, we submitted a request for public funds from the 2021 budget to Governor Gavin Newsom and our fellow lawmakers. Then we can triple the government dollars by raising capital from private investors. These funds will create a cushion to absorb capital risk, thereby attracting investment to the region. If successful, this model can be replicated at the state and country level, allowing development to occur in areas otherwise deemed too risky.

We approve and support Newsom extends moratorium on evictions and the commitment to short-term rental assistance, which is critical to keeping people housed as we navigate the pandemic. And Riverside County has helped help short-term residents through the United Lift Rental Assistance Program. But we also need to forge long-term solutions.

We know that the dynamic of housing supply does not stop and does not start at every municipal line. This Coachella Valley Housing Catalyst Fund will allow us to meet various regional challenges together. This fund will give us the flexibility to tackle homelessness in Palm Springs, close the funding gap for affordable housing projects in Indio, boost development in Desert Hot Springs, as well as reduce the most serious housing disparities in Indio. our mobile home communities in east Coachella Valley, those on tribal jurisdictions.

We will have the opportunity to rehouse families in unlivable conditions, support veteran housing efforts and complement Coachella Valley Water District efforts to connect underserved rural areas to water infrastructure.

If we are in the same regional boat then we have to row together. With heads of state. In collaboration with civic and community partners. Together with the many local residents who are lending their voice to this effort. Together.

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Assembly member Eduardo Garcia also wrote about invest in clean energy and access to parks for underserved communities.

Assembly member Chad Mayes also wrote about changing the way government works for voters.

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