Housing burden: All residents should have access to quality, affordable homes.

Insights & Analyses

  • Since 2000, rent burdens have risen dramatically in the region and statewide. Nearly half of Bay Area renters are rent-burdened.
  • In the nine-county Bay Area, Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and People of color renters are more likely to be rent-burdened, particularly among female-headed renter households.
  • Sonoma and Solano counties have the highest levels of rent burden in the region.
  • Latinx, Immigrants and Black, U.S. born homeowners in the five-county Bay Area, are the most likely to be cost-burdened of all racial and ethnic groups identified by the census.
  • Homeowner cost burden rose steeply between 2000 and 2010, partly due to the predatory lending crisis.

Drivers of Inequity

Historically, the appropriation of land from Indigenous people and explicitly discriminatory policies like redlining and restrictive covenants created inequitable access to quality affordable homes in neighborhoods with good schools, parks, access to transit, and other ingredients for social and economic success. Today’s rising housing burdens, especially among renters, are caused by skyrocketing rents and stagnant wages for all but the highest earners. Housing production has not kept up with job growth and there is a dire shortage of affordable homes and a lack of financing to build them. Meanwhile, the tech boom precipitated an influx of highly paid knowledge-economy workers and put enormous pressure on the housing market, driving up rents and home prices. Rent stabilization can moderate rent increases, but these policies only cover about a quarter of Bay Area rental homes and are restricted to older, multifamily buildings by the state's Costa Hawkins law. 


Strengthen places: Strategies to ensure affordable homes for all

Strategy in Action

In December 2020, San Francisco approved a policy that will cap rents for supportive housing tenants at 30 percent of their income. Pushed forward by tenant organizers and disability rights activists, these new protections will cover residents in nearly 8,000 supportive housing units. As these residents are more likely to be low-income and rent-burdened, rent caps provide a crucial tool to prevent homelessness and displacement. Learn more. 

Photo: Photo by Lynnea Tan on Unsplash

In Their Own Words...

“ For me, as a mom, it was very positive my children didn’t have to move constantly.”

— Evangelina Lara, Oakland

Rent control has allowed Evangelina Lara and her family to live in the same apartment in Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood for 20 years. Recently, a large corporation bought the building and sought to evict all the tenants by illegally raising the rent and then flipping their units. Using protections under the rent control law, with support from Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Evangelina and her neighbors successfully fought the rent increases and were able to maintain their affordable rents and stay in the city.


Photo: Felix Uribe

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