Local Housing—hard to come by, hard to afford
In vacation and second-home communities such as ours, many working people cannot afford to buy—or even rent—local housing. Surrounded by the Point Reyes National Seashore and protected open space and with growth restricted by zoning and septic limitations, the area’s housing is scarce to begin with. The very qualities of beauty, peacefulness, and close-knit community that make the area attractive also cause land and housing costs to escalate. When that happens, the “everyday” people who serve the community are priced out of the market.
Young adults who grew up here can’t afford to stay and young families with children are forced to move away, diminishing the school population. We lose caregivers for seniors, grandchildren, volunteer firefighters, and health care providers. Over time, local independent shopkeepers are affected. In short, our communities risk losing a healthy variety of people and businesses that make these thriving towns so attractive.
CLAM believes that people who work in West Marin and have settled their roots here should not have to leave because they can no longer afford to stay. But affordable homes that provide stability to a wide segment of the population are rarely available, a situation that endangers the community vitality.
What is affordable? According to government guidelines, affordability means that residents spend no more than one-third of their income on total housing costs (including utilities).