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Affordability and subsidized housing 

People say they want more affordable housing, but what they are really saying is, "I want to live here because it's nice, but I don't want to (or can't) pay the market price for housing here."

I'm not talking about the homeless, or people caught in temporary difficulties who need outside help. I'm only talking about people who want to live on the Central Coast but say it's too expensive and that we need more affordable housing.

That implies that the housing (for you) needs to cost less than the current market price for housing. There are only a few ways to achieve this:

• Builders/developers should build smaller homes or smaller apartments.

• Builders should build homes at a loss, or take less profit than they could. If you were a builder, why would you do that? A builder has to put up his/her own money to purchase the property, apply/wait for permits, have plans drawn up, and pay for materials and construction workers—before getting any money back for the property sale. If they can't make a reasonable profit, they should just put their money in the bank and eliminate all the risk involved in building, which means less available housing and even higher home prices.

• "Someone else" should pay the difference between what you want to pay and the market price for housing. The two choices there seem to be:

• A wealthy individual or organization subsidizes your purchase, so you can live where you want to and let someone else pay for your privilege.

• A government agency subsidizes your purchase, so you can live where you want to live, and let other taxpayers pay for your privilege.

Maybe there is no "affordable housing" crisis?

Maybe the only "crisis" is that no one is willing to subsidize the difference between the housing people can afford and the housing they want?

And why should they?

David Mortensen

Paso Robles

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