CCHO principal authors are Fernando Martí and Peter Cohen, with assistance from Maya Chupkov and Alexandra Goldman. Special thanks to UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Jessica Schirmer for research supporting this project.

Artwork by Fernando Martí

This piece concludes the Council of Community Housing Organizations’ series of essays on California’s complex housing affordability crisis, and the need for regional, place-based solutions.

Previous essays in the series:

The short answer is no.

San Francisco high-rise district rebranded as “the East Cut.”

Luxury homebuilding has been at an all time high in hot-market cities like New York City and San Francisco. And it’s left people behind in extreme ways.

The New York Times reports the 2010s was “a decade of tremendous change and gentrification for the boroughs beyond Manhattan, where rezoning and the pursuit of cheaper land near public transit spurred new building, much of it too expensive for local residents. At the same time, a dire need for affordable housing continues in the city, where about 79,000 people live in shelters or on the streets.”


By the CCHO Team

“Rethinking The Suburbs” is an essay series started in 2018 by the Council of Community Housing Organizations seeking to advance the public understanding of housing conditions in the Bay Area suburbs. The series explores housing strategies in the context of the post-Great Recession period of the past decade that has set up our current policy environment.

In Part II of the essay series, we dig deeper into analysis of changing development trends across the region, collaborating with Jessica Schirmer, a sociology PhD student at UC Berkeley. This analysis comes at a critical time as housing affordability…

By the CCHO Team (Maya Chupkov, Fernando Martí, and Peter Cohen)

Cities across California and the country are grappling with a wide breadth of affordability challenges. We’ve identified some of the biggest issues, and followed each one with a recommended next step to get towards solutions.

1. Building for the upper income, but failing on affordability.

Many cities are struggling to meet affordability goals even with streamlining mechanisms in place. In San Diego, for example, the production of new affordable housing units continues to fall despite the streamlining regulations.

By The Council of Community Housing Organizations

Last month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed hired the City’s first Director of Housing Delivery to expedite project approval and permitting, which should lead to more housing getting constructed, and more quickly.

But, how does the development process actually work?

The simple version is: A developer buys a piece of land, the City approves a development proposal after clearing the hurdles of community input, and then the housing project is built. But, in reality it’s not that simple. Developing a real estate project is a complex and multi-step process.

Why does it take…

This continues a series of essays on California’s complex housing affordability crisis, and the need for regional, place-based solutions.

The current essay dives into the issue of exclusionary practices that have exacerbated the housing crisis and offers some policy solutions.

Affordable housing production policies must include complimentary solutions that address preservation and resident protection. Photo from © 2018

It is a given that the people of California are facing an unprecedented housing crisis. One face of that crisis is the experience of thousands of renters facing evictions, displacement, and…

The answer is in place-based strategies

We need regional policies that address the different displacement, gentrification, and exclusion risks in different communities. Map from UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project.

There are two pushes in housing policy right now that keep butting up against each other. One is the push to make equity a more central part of policy, no longer just a window dressing or an afterthought. The other is the shift to thinking about housing on a regional or even state level.

In a place like the Bay Area, where the housing realities of our nine counties are so deeply interrelated, it makes sense to think about housing regionally. The affordable housing crisis is not just a problem for individual cities, but…

Council of Community Housing Organizations

This is the second essay in a two-part series on the role of the suburbs in California’s housing crisis. Read Part One here.

A new model of the Bay Area that we can — and should — be moving towards.

An important and often overlooked factor in the state’s affordability crisis is the dramatic drop in single-family housing production in California over the past 10 years. We break this down in the first part of this series. Despite the rhetoric repeated by real estate boosters, the media, and some politicians that California historically under-produced housing for decades, developers were actually producing roughly enough homes until recently, through the ups and downs of…

Council of Community Housing Organizations

Credit: La Citta Vita, [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday Aug 20th, 2017, the San Francisco Chronicle posted a two-page editorial “On Housing” which included a very telling graph that, unfortunately, was glossed over in the editors’ simple narrative of deregulation and “build, build, build.”

Brisbane Baylands — a model opportunity for a Jobs-Housing-Fit

Council of Community Housing Organizations

The City of Brisbane has a huge opportunity with development of the Baylands site, situated immediately contiguous to San Francisco’s own master-planned development at the old Schlage Lock site. The developer — Universal Paragon Corporation (UPC) — has a pending proposal with the City of Brisbane to create a mixed development of commercial, office, retail and housing.

While the debate over the development has been framed simply as Yes/No to including housing in the master plan, that binary question begs a lot of important details. We think it’s a no-brainer that the Baylands site should…

Council of Community Housing Organizations

Leading San Francisco’s affordable housing movement since 1978, fighting for funding & policies to make SF affordable.

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