Photo Credit: Home Sweet Home Productions

Ventura County, CA – California has a housing crisis and Ventura County residents can attest to it.  With a median sales price of $528,500, Ventura County is one of the least affordable places in California to purchase a home in.  For many purchasing a home in Ventura County may seem like an impossible feat to accomplish but for low-to-moderate income clients of Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC) what once seemed like a distant dream is now their reality, they’re homeowners in Ventura County. VCCDC provides a variety of services ranging from homebuyer education and coaching to mortgage lending including up to $30,000 in down payment assistance, and realty services. Since its inception in 2001 VCCDC has been able to assist thousands of low-to-moderate income families through its unique services. But VCCDC’s efforts don’t stop at the local level. Earlier this year VCCDC participated in the first Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Homeownership in Los Angeles. VCCDC took part in both planning and participating in this event in collaboration with the lead host, the Coalition for Housing and Homeownership, a coalition of community, government and financial leaders and advocates from across the nation working together to create a U.S. housing program to benefit low-income people of color. Gubernatorial candidates in attendance included Former Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, Assembly Member Travis Allen, Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and Businessman John Cox.  The intent of the forum was to learn about each candidates’ position and their plan to address the critical housing crisis in California.

VCCDC’s Executive Director, Bertha Garcia, and Director of Lending Services, Alex Vega as well as Carmen Ramírez, Esq., Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Oxnard, joined over 200 community leaders and housing advocates from across the state that attended and took the opportunity to ask key questions of the candidates. The questions ranged from the topics of home building to homeownership affordability to current regulations that impede housing development.  VCCDC’s Executive Director, Bertha Garcia, asked the candidates about one of those regulations, “CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, has been used to stop development and affordable housing; the NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard) have used the tactic of unnamed frivolous lawsuits to stop growth. We feel this is a modern form of redlining. What would you do as governor to stop this?”  All the candidates identified the misuse of CEQA and other regulations as major impediments to housing development and promised to streamline the process and fix CEQA loopholes which, per the Coalition for Housing and Homeownership, raise the cost of development anywhere from 19% to 43%.

Check out a short video from the event here:

You can see the candidates’ full responses via the recorded Facebook Live (recorded by event host RaqC):