48 hills | Zelda Bronstein | posted: 2/9/2015
Last Monday evening, a new organization with a highrise, pro-growth agenda and a memorable acronym — the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation — held a forum at The Lab, a block from the 16th St. BART station. The topic was “The Political Situation: How did housing prices get so high? What can we do about it?”
SFBARF is getting a lot of positive press, in part because the group’s message perpetuates a seductive illusion: The lack of affordable housing is all about a lack of construction.
Here’s how SFBARF describes its mission:
“The cause of our current housing shortage isn’t technological – we know how to build. It’s not financial – investors are clamoring to invest in the Bay Area. It’s not the result of a raw material shortage — unlike the 1940-45 housing crisis when the war effort diverted labor and materials from private efforts, today we have all the laborers and materials we need.
The cause of our current shortage is 100% political.”
The group has one solution: Build and build and build. And hope – against all available evidence – that eventually prices for renters will come down.