The lack of relatively affordable housing continues to be of chronic concern to Santa Cruz County residents and employers. It threatens not only the area's overall quality of life, but its economic vitality as well. Today, according to the California Association of Realtors, only 16% of county residents can afford a median-priced home. Due to growth that has already occurred, many local residents find themselves priced out of the market by untenable rents and home prices.
The lack of affordable housing in Santa Cruz County severely constrains the capability of the area's employers to attract and retain employees. It is a deterrent to drawing new businesses to our area. It debilitates our community by making it almost impossible for teachers, police and fire personnel, and service workers to live where they work. It causes a number of businesses whose markets are outside of Santa Cruz County to leave the area. As more growth occurs, however slight, the situation will continue to deteriorate unless something is done.
Our community is suffering from the cumulative impact of twenty years of neglecting housing needs. The Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce recognize the solution to this problem will require sustained commitment and action over a long period of time.
The Chamber supports increasing the number of housing units in Santa Cruz County, with a focus on serving moderate to low income individuals and families through increased-density, mixed-use developments.
The Chamber understands that in increasing the number of housing units, impacts infrastructure issues, such as water, transportation and land use. Solutions to these and other infrastructure issues must be pursued simultaneously to housing issues.
The Chamber supports achieving an increase in the number of housing units that: