STOCKTON (CBS13) — California cities are faced with a challenging housing situation. Wages have hit a plateau or are in some cases decreasing, while rents continue to rise.
Building has stalled, but Stockton city leaders are making strides to get new affordable housing units built.
Finding clean and affordable housing is a struggle for Almarosa Valdez and her friend Erica Pena Valencia.
“I’m tired of seeing this,” said Valdez. “She has cockroaches, rats,” said Valdez.
They are seeking help after their rent increased despite what they call deplorable living conditions.
“This is not right,” said Valdez.
“As soon as we open the phone starts ringing,” said Robert Brooke-Munoz.
He is the interim director of Fair Housing. This agency advises people struggling with rent.
He says his workers are overwhelmed.
“They’re looking for housing, they’re looking for affordable housing, they’re coming in with problems with their landlords,” said Brooke-Munoz.
It’s a difficult situation in Stockton. According to a new report by PolicyLink, 61 percent of the people in the city are paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
“People’s incomes are not increasing, so it just makes the affordability crisis that much more pronounced,” said Angel Ross, a researcher with PolicyLink
The data collected shows people in Stockton could take home an average of $5,800 more a year if they could live in affordable housing.
“They can pay for the basics like healthcare, child care, transportation, food,” explained Ross.
But just finding a place to live is a challenge.
“We do our best to try to guide them in the right direction,” said Brooke-Munoz, but if there’s nothing available, then there’s nothing available.”
New development stalled after the 2008 housing crisis leading to a housing supply shortage.
“We’re doing what we can with what we can control,” said Micah Runner the Stockton city Economic Development Director.
The city is supporting affordable housing projects like the recently completed 40 unit Cal Weber building. Runner says just last week, a 12-story mixed-use project in downtown got the green light.
“It’s all about providing different options that people can actually afford and move into homes,” said Runner.