California Courier

Congressional Candidate Margarita Wilkinson Takes on California’s Housing Challenges

Wilkinson offers a biting critique of Newsom’s California and explores policy solutions to combat the state’s housing crunch.

From exorbitant costs to a shortage of units, California’s housing crisis remains a formidable challenge. As of recent data compiled by the California Association of Realtors, the state’s median home price is well above the national average, reaching an eye-watering $843,600 in late 2023— a cost which only 15% of California households could afford to purchase.

Furthermore, 68% of Californians now say that housing affordability is a big problem in their part of the state, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Between Orange County and San Diego County, that number rises to a staggering 89%. With this in mind, there is little doubt that the constituents of California’s 49th Congressional District— the only one to contain parts of both of the aforementioned counties— will take particular interest in what can be done to solve the issue.

For this reason, our writing staff at California Courier reached out to Margarita Wilkinson, a candidate for CA CD-49, with several questions to ascertain her position on California’s housing crunch and the policy solutions that could solve it. 

“It is undeniable that here in Newsom’s California, sky-high rents and a lack of housing are impacting families and young individuals’ ability to make ends meet, resulting in too many living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Wilkinson responded. “I will push for policies to remove barriers to homeownership through measures like tax incentives for first-time buyers, cutting regulations to encourage the construction of affordable housing, and incentivizing developers to build such units.”

Wilkinson’s sentiments echo those of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, a federation of local and regional associations representing builders, who have long asserted that California faces a housing policy crisis as much as it does a housing production crisis. Due to state-imposed regulations and a difficulty to obtain construction permits, most development has become “too difficult and too costly for workforce housing projects to be feasible,” according to BIASC

“Steep government fees are one of the most significant barriers to new housing starts as it can drive home costs beyond the reach of the typical household… Therefore, middle-income households don’t qualify for below-market rate housing units and are left to scavenge for more and more expensive market-rate housing, along with most low-income households that can’t find subsidized housing.”

Wilkinson continued by expressing the importance of streamlining the permit approval process along with gutting the ever-increasing number of substantive requirements placed on developers. 

“It’s time to address the root causes of the housing crisis by cutting through bureaucratic red tape and streamlining the process to make housing more accessible for all Californians, and making the dream of homeownership more accessible for individuals and families,” says Wilkinson.

Despite the well-documented business and resident exodus, California remains the nation’s most populous state and offers a window into the future for other states that fail to manage their housing needs. Despite some posturing from CA CD-49’s Rep. Mike Levin and the California State Legislature’s Democrat supermajority, the housing dilemma and the rate of homelessness have only worsened over time. Increasingly, Americans will look to Congress and candidates like Wilkinson to see what can be done at the federal level to stop the dream of homeownership from slipping further out of reach.

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