The County and City of Eureka announced this week that their 30-60 Housing First Campaign has been a smashing success over its first 60 days. In fact, over 73 adults and children were housed through what the County calls a direct result of the program.
And THC’s response to this was a decidedly lukewarm “Meh.”
Don’t get us wrong – it’s fantastic news that 73 needy folks were housed in such a short time. THC will even go so far as giving Eureka and the County a “Huzzah!” for actually pulling through on one of their goals for once. There may be hope for the world after all.
But a real big issue that the County is glossing over is the relative lack of affordable housing units available throughout Humboldt. It’s great that folks in need found housing so readily – but according to the estimates of affordable housing units in Humboldt, the opportunities to continue placing people in housing are going to dwindle rapidly. Why? Because there simply aren’t enough such units to go around, and certainly not enough of them to provide housing to as many people that need it. (As an aside, it’s amazing what your local government can accomplish when it actually frickin’ tries. Just think – all those affordable units were there for the taking before the 30-60 campaign began, but apparently were just sitting around.) Anyhow, THC thinks that as the program progresses, the returns will diminish greatly.
With a county-wide measure potentially creating rent-controls for one of the most critical sources of affordable housing, one has to wonder just what the County is doing to address the greater cause for homelessness and a number of other serious issues affecting Humboldt: there simply isn’t enough housing of all kinds. (THC went more in depth on that before, just in case you missed it: California’s top legislative analysts: Measure V a death sentence for Humboldt’s low-income housing.)
Hear anything from your Supervisors recently about how they’re encouraging the development of housing? The answer to that question is a big, fat NO.
Meanwhile, two localities to the south of us are taking steps to ensure that they are making it easier to increase the overall housing stock in their areas. For example, in Sonoma County, the Santa Rosa City Council just pledged $3 million buckaroos to help developers get their affordable housing projects off the ground. You can read about that in this Press Democrat article from Tuesday: Santa Rosa pledges $3 million to help developers speed new housing construction.
And in Mendocino County, the Supervisors are looking at “streamlining and expanding the future development of second homes on existing properties” and intend to do so by pursuing “strategies for accelerating and lowering the cost of permitting and building the units, which can be either attached or detached from the main residence and can be an already existing structure.” Here’s a link to the Ukiah Daily Journal’s reporting on that effort: Board hopes streamlined second unit rules will expand housing.
What do Santa Rosa and Mendocino have in common with Humboldt? Among other things, they have identified they are in the midst of housing crises. What do they not have in common with Humboldt? They are actually taking steps to address the root cause of the issue.
It remains to be seen whether Humboldt’s Supervisors will take similar sensible steps towards alleviating the dire need for housing in Humboldt – or whether they’ll take any action towards that end whatsoever – but it sure would be nice to at least hear them talk about something meaningful, instead of spending time doing crap like pouring even more money into pandering to pot interests and their efforts to serve them: