Drew Nate | IE Voice
San Bernardino City Council Members Kimberly Calvin and Damon L. Alexander were recently named to the Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) 2022 Housing Policy Leadership Academy.
As the State legislation focuses on regional housing needs and market forces accelerate housing production, the SCAG Housing Policy Leadership Academy (HPLA) will expose emerging and established leaders to best practices in housing policy to increase the availability of affordable housing in their communities.
The five specific areas of the HPLA program include producing housing for all; preserving vulnerable housing, promoting equity and inclusion, protecting tenants and small landlords, and preventing displacement.
As community indicators have shown, the median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment ($1,113) is not affordable to many lower wage occupations, including individuals working as retail salespersons, home health aides, and transportation and materials moving occupations.
In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey’s 1-Year Estimates, found that in San Bernardino County, 46% of renting households pay 35% or more of their income on rent. This compares to 44% statewide and 39% nationwide.
The shortage of affordable housing in San Bernardino and the Inland Empire as whole has been attributed to this large gap in affordability for most low-wage workers and their families. Less affordable rental housing restricts the ability of renters to save for a down payment on a home, and limits their ability to become homeowners.
Although the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area has the least expensive rental housing in the Southern California region, the issue of the area’s housing wage has increased in recent years according to community indicators.
“With more developers looking at opportunities in San Bernardino, we are poised for growth. We need to be sure that inclusionary and affordable housing is part of that growth,” Alexander, who represents San Bernardino’s seventh ward, said in a press release.
Alexander went on to say, “The timing of this Academy could not be better, and we look forward to being a part of it.”
During the Academy, program participants and issue experts from across the state and region will examine housing issues from diverse perspectives and apply their learning to current policy challenges. Discussions will examine solutions that consider both the physical and social aspects of a healthy housing ecosystem for all.
The Housing Policy Leadership Academy will consist of ten monthly sessions and runs through November. SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six southern California counties, 191 cities and more than 19 million residents.