Fiona Ma speaks to attendees of an affordable housing listening tour in Fresno on Friday. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
The Fresno Housing Authority hosted an Affordable Housing Listening Tour featuring California State Treasurer Fiona Ma at the Legacy Commons apartment complex in Fresno Friday.
Fresno Councilmember Esmeralda Soria delivered opening remarks, and representatives for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Jim Costa, along with members from different community foundations and organizations were present, along with members of the public.
Ma has visited Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco during the tour, capping it with the Fresno visit.
“We have heard time and time again over many years, that housing is a huge issue,” Soria said. “We hear about the housing crisis impacting the Bay Area, Los Angeles, but we have a housing crisis in the city of Fresno even though are rents are not as high as the Bay Area or L.A.”
According to a report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation released in April of last year, “Fresno County’s Housing Emergency and Proposed Solutions,” Low Income Housing Tax Credit housing production in the county declined 16 percent in 2017 in anticipation of federal tax reform.
The report notes that to afford the median monthly asking rent of $999, renters in Fresno County need to earn $19.21 an hour–nearly twice the state minimum wage.
The discussion focused on homelessness and affordable housing issues for the Central Valley area, and after the opening statements, and words from Ma, the floor was opened to statements from the audience.
“We are on this tour to listen to you and take what you tell us back to the treasurer’s office,” Ma said. “So we can be proactive, we can be a partner, and we can get money flowing faster instead of just passively waiting for you to apply, we actually want to make your projects happen.