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Opinion

California’s immigrant-friendly policies aren’t helping the housing crisis

A house for rent is advertised in Los Angeles in 2015.

To the editor: The editorial, “SoCal leaders either haven’t gotten the memo on the housing crisis or don’t care,” continues your attacks on local governments and what you call “NIMBY groups.”

It’s true that some local governments resist doing their part to abate the housing crisis. I suggest that the L.A. Times Editorial Board is blind to another important factor in the shortage of housing: a large and growing population.

A part of this population is the estimated 2.2 million unauthorized immigrants living in California. These people need housing.

I’m not suggesting that we evict 2.2 million people. I am suggesting that California reassess the policies that encourage more people to come here without legal authorization: its “sanctuary” law, licenses for undocumented immigrants, state-subsidized healthcare and in-state college tuition.

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California has a large underclass that has trouble finding housing, getting a decent education and finding employment. It is not wise to encourage more people, often poor and without education, to come to the state.

Steve Murray, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: The region not only has a shortage of affordable housing but also a shortage of political courage, as shown by the misguided vote of the Southern California Assn. of Governments’ board to approve a plan that drastically reduces recommended new home development goals to 430,000 through 2029 across the six-county region.

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L.A. County alone has an estimated shortage of nearly 517,000 affordable rental homes to meet current demand.

Residents of Southern California deserve better leadership as they struggle with the disconnect between their stagnant incomes and growing rental costs — a disconnect we could meaningfully address by enabling more housing development, particularly development targeted at working, low-income families.

Development does not operate in a silo; it takes collaboration across sectors and overcoming many barriers to get even one project built. But we do this challenging work because affordable housing is a public good.

SCAG must need reminding that there is a mutually cooperative relationship between the government’s responsibility to facilitate development and developers’ capacity to build. We want to be good-faith partners in creating vibrant communities, but SCAG’s vote erodes this faith.

Alan Greenlee, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of the Southern California Assn. of Nonprofit Housing.

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To the editor: Homeowners, many of them NIMBYs, vote. Some renters vote, and some don’t. Homeless people rarely vote.

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Politicians, no matter how progressive, ostensibly represent all constituents, but those who want to remain employed listen to and heed voters over nonvoters.

One would think that with the Democrats having a super-majority in the state Legislature, bills to ease the housing and homelessness crisis would fly through. But not one of the five housing bills made it through this session.

Republicans represent the wealthy, Democrats represent the middle class, and no one really represents the poor.

Ron Garber, Duarte

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