Here’s hoping that our city and county leaders are dedicated to working on a set of strategies to deal with a possible surge in homelessness. We know that the matter is on some agendas.

The surge, if it does come about, will drive home the point that the homeless ranks aren’t exclusively transients – the type that are more easily ignored, it seems. If there is a new surge, it will be populated by families that are simply and plainly too poor to afford rent. It’s going to be people with jobs, families with kids, retirees with problems to deal with. It will be regular people who have been forced out of their homes by the current market.

The Yuba-Sutter area has a housing shortage for everyone on the economic spectrum. It’s not helped by the pandemic.

There’s a shortage, there’s high demand, and prices for rental units have gone up. In many cases, housing choice vouchers aren’t enough to keep a family housed. Alisha Parker, manager of the housing choice voucher department of the Regional Housing Authority, interviewed for a weekend story, said: “It’s tough right now to find a rental, especially with rents being so high.”

And Gus Becerra, director of the Housing Authority said that turnover in units has decreased significantly ... nobody wants to risk a move at this time and that means no new openings.

A few years ago, you rented a nice little house for $1,000 a month; now you pay that or more for rent for a one-room apartment.

Waitlists are long. Becerra said that if someone were to walk in today, there would be nothing available. Still, Becerra says that people who are running into hard luck in a search for housing should apply with the RHA. They may not have anything readily available but they can help applicants network with other organizations that could help with deposits and first month’s rent, etc.

There’s a shortage of affordable housing; and of higher-end rentals; and of homes to buy.

Anything cities and counties can do to add inventory at any level is only going to help.


Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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