The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA) was incorporated in 2015 by five housing activists to make housing more affordable or accessible throughout California.
In the summer of 2015, we learned that the City of Lafayette intended to approve a housing development of 44 luxury single-family homes, instead of the originally proposed 315 apartments, which would have been affordable to moderate income earners. The California Housing Accountability Act prevents cities and towns from disapproving zoning compliant housing projects, but the law is rarely enforced. Developers prefer to maintain good relationships with city officials, so instead of engaging in expensive, time consuming litigation, they often agree to redesign their projects at lower densities, which result in fewer homes being built. In aggregate, these decisions by localities have caused a housing shortage, which is why housing is so expensive in California.
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