California Housing Overview

Challenges Californians Face
California continues to suffer from a lack of housing that is affordable even for middle-income families. Workers face long commutes between housing they can afford and their jobs. The high cost of housing leaves families with less income to spend on other necessities. A recent report has found that, while renters faced the greatest affordability challenges, high housing costs had pushed homeownership out of reach for many families. As housing costs rose, some families could only afford to live in overcrowded or substandard housing. Many families struggled to leave welfare for work and households across a broad array of age groups and ethnic and racial backgrounds faced significant cost burdens.

Housing Market

Housing in Orange County is among the most expensive in the nation. Probably, someone you know is struggling under the escalating costs of housing in every Orange County community. Several factors combine to create California’s housing crunch:
  • Wages have not kept pace with housing costs
  • Relatively low paying sales and service jobs are proliferating while housing options for lower wage jobs are minimal
  • New industries and a growing economy in Orange County create a premium demand for any housing
  • Land values remain high and housing production is not meeting demand
All of these factors contribute to the current shortage of affordable housing.

Many of the people who need affordable housing are people you see every day:
  • Your child’s teacher or childcare worker
  • The clerk employed at the local store
  • A woman in the wheelchair or the elderly man on the bus
  • A police officer, janitor, office worker, or waiter
Basic Human Needs
When people spend too much on housing, they have no money left to cover other basic needs, such as food and health care, or to cope with emergencies. Having a job does not guarantee a family a place to live at an affordable cost. Additionally, minimum wage earners and low-income households simply do not earn enough to afford the high market-rate rents that are found throughout Orange County.