NIMBY Mindsets Holding California's Housing Crisis Hostage

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — California officials say 180,000 new housing units are needed this year to prevent a potential catastrophe. Despite the huge need, only 100,000 homes are planned.(1) While increased material costs and a lack of skilled workers are a big part of the problem, The Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) attitude has made the situation even worse. Fear of change, greed from entrenched landlords, and stubborn indifference to those on the edge of homelessness fuel the NIMBY mindset, warns Nick Saifan, Chairman of Vendaval Corp. “The NIMBYs are always going to come out to say ‘no’ for one reason or another,” Saifan says.

The NIMBY mindset dates back generations.(2) From anti-Asian exclusion laws in the 19th Century to Christian-only deed covenants, to more recent lawsuits in Huntington Beach to block a 48-unit development, a just-say-no-attitude persists. But the need to increase the number of affordable homes in California has pushed the state legislature to support two pro-housing bills. California Senate legislative bills SB 9 and SB 10 are intended to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis by easing perceived land use and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) barriers to increase density and streamline the production of multi-family housing development statewide.(3) Both bills have been signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The need for affordable homes expanded largely due to the rapid rise in housing prices across California. Home prices jumped 24 percent in the state from March 2020 to March 2021.(4) The continuing COVID pandemic has led to job loss and financial desperation for millions across the state. The situation may get far worse once forbearance and rent forgiveness ends. Those two factors could force Californians already late with rent or mortgage payments into the streets. As of mid-April, 2.2 million homeowners remain in the federal forbearance program. About 70 percent of those homeowners are not making any payments. Experts estimate that 3 percent of those in the program could end up in delinquency.(5)

Forbearance is set to end September 30. If it’s not extended, homeowners will likely be forced to pay their mortgage bills or face possible foreclosure. A recent Supreme Court decision that ended the federal government’s moratorium on renter evictions could put millions at risk of eviction.(6) Debt relief and other government programs help those on the edge, but those in power can also be swayed by a small group of vocal voices that oppose housing plans designed to help struggling families.

“It’s not just the NIMBYs that hinder the kind of progressive housing plans we need today,” Saifan says. “Too often city leaders focus on complaints from organized groups, many of whom are landlords seeking to jack up rent prices instead of doing what’s right for the community at large.”

It’s understandable why landlords oppose any change that might add reasonably priced homes to their neighborhoods. But that short-sighted perspective hurts working-class citizens and the unemployed. The NIMBY view has put California in a housing bind, Saifan notes. “It’s become so bad that simple projects, like creating community college dorms with prefab construction, a process that should take two months to complete, can now take years,” Saifan says.

Huntington Beach recently converted abandoned big box stores into apartments. That trend is growing as HUD has begun to explore ways to turn vacant commercial space into affordable housing. Reports indicate that up to 25,000 stores faced closure due to the pandemic.(7) Meanwhile, The Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing sites a shortage of 551,807 rental homes for households earning less than $41,500.(8)

New solutions are needed in the COVID era, Saifan says. Government red tape and the old NIMBY attitude won’t help those displaced and desperate for homes, work, and a sense of well-being. Communities need to become more aware of how tough things are in California. Community leaders need to expand their viewpoints and listen to a range of voices that use creative approaches to a problem that won’t vanish when the pandemic disappears. They also need to consider advice from seasoned builders and advocates who have spent decades dealing with zoning issues, bureaucratic red tape and the NIMBYs.

“Progress can be hard to achieve, especially when so many in power talk, but do nothing about the problems,” Saifan said. “Apathy, special interests, and listening to a minority of NIMBY voices have become more important than the good of the people.”

About Vendaval Corporation
Nick Saifan served in the U.S. military for 24 years, including time stationed in Riverside County, CA. He experienced firsthand the difficulties of transitioning from military life to civilian life and, as a co-founder of a community-based nonprofit, he watched the difficulty in getting donations increasing year by year. Today, he’s putting his business savvy where his heart is. He sees a community that, like many, has struggled to evolve with a changing employment picture in the region. Today Vendaval Corporation visualizes a sustainable business structure creating the opportunity for helping those in need with successful community-based programs. The differentiator in the communities he visualizes is self-sufficient affordable housing in a mixed-use development that offers on-site programs for veterans, youth, education, childcare, on-the-job training, and job placement. These programs begin even before ground is broken. Rounding out the community are retail outlets such as bakeries/coffee shops, dry cleaning shops, a paid-membership fitness center, and financial institution. For more information visit http://www.vendavalcorp.com/

1.    Walters, Dan; “Will Legislature Confront California Housing Crisis?”; Last updated Aug 2021; Cal Matters; calmatters.org/commentary/2021/08/california-legislature-housing-crisis.
2.    Walters, Dan; “Will Legislature Confront California Housing Crisis?”; Last updated Aug 2021; Cal Matters; calmatters.org/commentary/2021/08/california-legislature-housing-crisis.
3.    “SB 9 And SB 10”; Los Angeles Conservancy; Last updated: Sept 2021. laconservancy.org/issues/sb-9-and-sb-10
4.    Borland, Kelsi Maree; “California Takes a Legislative Response To The Affordable Housing Crisis”; Last updated: June, 2021; GlobeSt.com: globest.com/2021/06/22/california-takes-a-legislative-response-to-the-affordable-housing-crisis.
5.    Kohler, Christine; “Most Homeowners Have Exited Mortgage Forbearance Programs, But Those Who Are Left Are The Most Vulnerable”; Last updated May 2021; CNBC: cnbc.com/2021/05/21/most-homeowners-have-ended-forbearance-but-those-left-are-vulnerable
6.    Rosenbert, Yuval; “Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden’s Eviction Moratorium”; Last updated: Aug, 2021; Yahoo Finance: finance.yahoo.com/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-biden-213354276
7.    Carpenter, Susan; “Strip Malls, Big-Box Stores Could Be Used For Housing In LA”; Last updated, Aug. 2020; Spectrum News 1; spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/housing/2020/08/24/strip-malls–big-box-stores-could-be-used-for-housing-in-la.
8.    Carpenter, Susan; “Strip Malls, Big-Box Stores Could Be Used For Housing In LA”; Last updated, Aug. 2020; Spectrum News 1; spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/housing/2020/08/24/strip-malls–big-box-stores-could-be-used-for-housing-in-la.

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SOURCE Vendaval Corporation

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