Rep. Lynn Woolsey spoke at a press conference in support of H.R. 2349, the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act. Rep. Woolsey is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2349. If signed into law, the bill will increase the creation of rental housing and preserve or rehabilitate existing housing that is affordable for low-income families.
Affordable housing can be a reality and I am proud to be a co-sponsor of H.R. 2349 and to represent a district that works hard to provide housing for its working families.
I represent Marin and Sonoma counties, just north of the San Francisco Bay area; one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. The town I live in, Petaluma, is in the nation’s fourth least affordable housing market – the average home costs $350,000.
Petaluma has always had the goal to develop wisely. It was the first city in the nation to have a growth control ordinance and its vocal and powerful environmental community often opposes any new development.
You’d think that affordable housing would be impossible but when I was on the City Council, Petaluma made affordable housing a priority. Where there is a will, there is a way. Now, 22% of Petaluma’s new housing is affordable housing.
For example, earlier this year we dedicated ‘Old Elm Village,’ an affordable housing project that will provide 87-units of low and very low income housing. Not only does ‘Old Elm Village’ serve a wide range of affordable housing needs -- it also provides commercial space and a subsidized child care facility that will serve the entire neighborhood.
Affordable housing is a key component of economic development in our community. This magnificent project proves that a mixed-use urban village, which does not contribute to sprawl, can be created – and it can be made affordable.
It’s a sad truth that there is an affordable housing crisis in many parts of the nation. It’s also true that we want to preserve our beautiful open space. Well, the City of Petaluma has provided an example of how to solve both of those problems, while creating places where we would all want to live.