PANA Statement on California’s Sustainable and Affordable (CASA) Housing Act

Optimism for a Statewide Initiative to Address Insufficient Housing for Low Income People:

 The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) issues the following statement, attributable to PANA’s executive director, Ramla Sahid, in response to today’s announcement by Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and City Councilmembers David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez announcing Assemblymember Gloria’s proposed bill, AB 2372, to encourage affordable housing units near public transit:

 The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans looks forward to working with state and city representatives to ensure that our low income refugee families benefit from new developments that include affordable housing.

PANA supports legislative efforts to increase the production of affordable housing units, especially along transit corridors. Our city’s three million residents are continually being pushed further and further from city centers in order to afford housing, which substantially decreases their quality of life. The lack of affordable housing leads to overcrowding, income inequality, and higher transportation costs.

Today’s announcement describes legislation that will create a statewide opt-in program to increase housing along bus, rapid transit, and trolley corridors. AB 2372 will require that at least 20% of units must be priced at 50% of the average median income. This is a welcome start to addressing the genuine humanitarian crisis that has led to increased homelessness, the outbreak of a Hepatitis A epidemic, and severe overcrowding in many people’s homes as they struggle to make ends meet.

It does not, however, address the problem of insufficient affordable housing units for larger families who are equally suffering from the housing crisis and are in danger of becoming homeless. A study conducted by PANA in 2016 found that many low income families in San Diego are paying 80% of their income on rent and housing expenses. Too many San Diegans are forced to live in substandard conditions, have to fight slumlords, or squeeze into dangerously overcrowded housing to ensure their families have a place to sleep at night. 

Currently, working families cannot afford to live in the nation’s eighth largest city. Many of our city’s homeless are actually working people who cannot afford living spaces because of past inaction by civic leaders. Too often, our leaders instead have placed a priority on voting with developers’ interests. Today’s announced legislation shows a hopeful change in the right direction. PANA will be carefully monitoring the progress of the CASA Housing Act.

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PANA’s executive director, Ramla Sahid, is available for interviews. Please contact Mariana Bustamante at 619.977-2504 to schedule an interview.

Pana San Diego