Back and Forward: Darryl Rutherford on Sacramento’s Housing Crisis

Back Q&A Jul 17, 2017

Darryl Rutherford, executive director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, says there’s no easy answer to the Capital Region’s housing crisis, but here he offers some possible solutions being explored. For more from Rutherford, check out “Troubles of the Trade” in our July issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.

What’s the biggest change in your industry in the past year?

We have seen an increased focus and attention on the housing crisis, particularly on various solutions to homelessness that are emphasizing the Housing First model. Jurisdictions throughout the Sacramento region are grappling with how to accomplish this while funding for affordable housing programs have been reduced. Cuts in federal and state funding, including elimination of state redevelopment, have reduced investment in affordable housing production and preservation in Sacramento County by more than $44 million annually since 2008, a 66 percent reduction. There’s a renewed focus on streamlining residential development to reduced development costs and finding new funding sources at the local level that can fill the financing gap needed to build affordable homes.

What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?

The housing crisis isn’t just affecting lower income households. As housing costs in Sacramento skyrocket, we’re going to see more conversations about solutions aimed at different segments of the population — how to build more homes at all income levels, how to stabilize rents for Midtown’s young professionals, how to zone and build for atypical housing products like micro-units, tiny homes, etc.— and how well the novel projects that have been built as the first of their kind in Sacramento (e.g. the prefab project for Eviva Midtown Apartments) work once they’re actually leased up. We’ll see efforts to reduce regulation and streamline development coupled with a renewed focus on developing financing strategies to end and prevent homelessness and assist the lower wage income earners afford the homes they live in.

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