Orange County has an affordable housing problem. You probably already know this because there has been a lot of press on the topic (story HERE).
You might also know that in the spring, Orange County commissioned a 38 member Affordable Housing for All Task Force to take on the problem. The news earned a lot of positive press for the county and made everyone look good.
Unfortunately, here we are months later and they have made no real progress on new affordable housing ideas for the region.
Instead, there has been a lot of discussion during these meetings that are working towards findings that we already know about the problem.
For example, during the last task force meeting, the group listened to a speaker that said that people didn’t want affordable housing in their neighborhoods. The “NIMBY” or “Not in my backyard” stigma that many communities will express with new developments.
We knew this months ago (story HERE) and we’re still discussing it.
The Task Force is also due to submit it’s final action plan (story HERE). Are we going to get more opinions on this crisis that we already knew?
I really hope not. It would be a setback for affordable housing in Orange County.
A big reason why we haven’t seen much movement or innovation from this task force is because many of the members can’t relate to problems with affordable housing.
They’re lobbyists, executives, politicians and real estate salesmen. They’re using this opportunity as a resume builder or goodwill talking point for their businesses, rather than an opportunity to turn the tide on this very real problem.
After their work here is done, they’ll go home and live their lives whether we make progress on affordable housing in Orange County or not.
Next time, we need a task force that can be held accountable to the voters in one way or another.
Real process on affordable housing begins when we begin swinging hammers. Real developments, not a dozen apartments here and there for the purposes of hosting a press conference.
I’m not going to call the Housing for All Task Force a failure. I want to see the final action plan. Maybe… Hopefully… They’ll surprise us.
However, based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m not feeling very optimistic.
Let’s hope this hasn’t been a six month setback on the region’s biggest problem.