“Layers of bureaucracy,” “high cost of living,” and “an unclear direction” – California has struggled for decades managing its housing affordability crisis, today reaching a shortage of 1.3 million affordable homes statewide. One cause, according to housing experts and advocates: building affordable housing is expensive – and can take years.
California leads the nation in highest cost per unit of building affordable complexes – with some costing as much as $1 million per unit. Community opposition, lack of state funding, strict environmental standards and material costs are major impediments to creating more affordable housing – and those that do receive approval can take years, if not decades, to get off the ground.
As Solano County’s affordable housing deficit tops 10,000 homes, it’s a surprise to many that Fairfield leaders would allow the nearly 300 units at Georgetown to sit vacant. Georgetown is unique – the property previously housed military families and now that the lease with Travis Air Force Base is up, the property owner wants to transform the project into nearly 300 units for low-income residents, at no cost to the City or County. With a project labor agreement with local building trades, the units can be rehabilitated less than a year following approval.
The project is a win-win for local leaders and the community. Yet City and County leaders continue to oppose the affordable project’s rehabilitation, despite the growing deficit of low- and very-low income homes for their own constituents. Georgetown would provide safe, affordable homes for hundreds in a city that has not built a single affordable unit since 2014.
“We have residents sleeping in their cars or in tents by railroad tracks, or those simply sheltering where they can,” said Rachel Ford, chair of the Solano Interfaith Collaborative on Poverty. “As a community, we should be doing everything we can to get them into permanent housing. With affordable homes so difficult and expensive to build, Georgetown is a huge opportunity for our region. This should be a no-brainer for our leaders.”
The affordable homes at Georgetown are supported by a coalition of housing groups and community organizations, including Disabled American Veterans, Department of CA, California YIMBY, Napa-Solano Building & Construction Trades Council, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and others.
More information about the Georgetown Project is available at HousingForHundreds.com.