Workforce Shortage in Affordable Housing Construction and Real Estate Development

I wanted to pass on this article posted in the Mercury News:

“ Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he wants to build as many as 3.5 million new houses by 2025 to solve California’s housing crisis. But those ambitious goals could be derailed without hundreds of thousands of new construction workers needed to dramatically accelerate the pace of California home building, even assuming that cities agree to zone for more housing and there’s money available to build it all. And it’s hard to imagine, given recent trends, where that many additional workers in the low-wage, high-risk industry would come from.

Newsom took an early stab at the money question in his first budget, offering $500 million in state funding for middle-income housing, But he wants California’s companies to take on a bigger role funding new homes. And he said he’s already talked with some Silicon Valley tech companies who are open to cooperating. Ramping up housing construction from about 100,000 units in 2016 to 1980s levels  — about 300,000 new homes were built in 1986 — would require some 200,000 new workers, according to the researcher behind a new study for Smart Cities Prevail, a pro-union nonprofit. But even that influx of workers wouldn’t be enough to meet the goal of 500,000 new houses a year that Newsom floated during his campaign.

“Workers are not going to fall out of trees,” researcher Scott Littlehale said.

Littlehale’s study found that California housing construction isn’t just failing to attract new workers. It’s losing the workers it already has, many of whom are low wage and lower-skilled. From 2006 to 2017, California lost about 200,000 construction workers. And within the construction trade, many workers are opting for commercial building jobs, which pay more, have better benefits and steadier work.”

First off, the answer isn’t going to come from just Silicon Valley!  If California is going to successfully address its housing affordability crisis, what solutions will ensure shortages in the construction workforce are not a hindrance to development? This workshop will provide an overview of how stakeholders like SCANPH and the nonprofit affordable housing industry can support investments in a 21st century workforce so that we can collectively meet the demands of solving our historic housing crisis. Speakers will discuss the impact of the tight labor market on development and how the state can boost competitiveness and productivity in construction. For more on this you can attend the SCANPH Workshop “The Construction Workforce Shortage and its impact on Affordable Housing”…click here.