Our talk at the Federal Reserve

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Last Friday, Jay was invited by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to speak on a panel on innovative solutions to housing affordability. The event focused on practical ways to increase the supply of housing- to build more housing to meet the incredible demand that is driving up housing costs in the Bay Area.

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Coliving is a tool for increasing the supply of affordable-by-design housing:

  • Houses more people on a square footage basis than average apartments
  • Does not require public subsidies. In some cases, a subsidy as much as $300k is required to maintain just one affordable unit of housing 2 people. In coliving this same $300k could be structured as a public investment to create housing for 10 people, with the $300k eventually returned back to an affordable housing trust to fund more housing.
  • In Oakland, those who make less than $48k / yr are considered low income. This is half of average income, i.e. 50% Area Median Income or AMI)
  • If no more than 30% of wages go to rent, this is considered affordable housing. Average rents in OpenDoor coliving houses meet this mark for low income people (at 50% AMI)
In addition to coliving, our developer friend Patrick Kennedy gave a great presentation about his modular construction technique to house the roughly 4,000 homeless people in San Francisco. With city land donated, he can build housing and lease it to the city at $1,000 per unit. Studies have shown the average homeless person costs taxpayers $1,200 per month, mostly for jail detentions and emergency room visits.

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