START MAKING DENSE: When it comes down to it, housing affordability’s ‘guy behind the tree’ is you and me

by George Casey, CEO of Stockbridge Associates, LLC

When talking about taxes and tax policy, the venerable Louisiana Senator, Russell B. Long, is quoted saying: “Don’t tax you; don’t tax me; tax the guy behind the tree.”

The ubiquitous “other guy” would be the one who bore the brunt of the burden and you and I would go scot-free.

Of course the man behind the tree is often the common man or woman who’s political leverage and knowledge is minimal and ends up being the worse off for it.

Returning from a week at PCBC in San Diego, my head spins with both the issues and opportunities ahead for those whose mission and passion is to provide shelter: the simple roof over one’s head. Some of the issues are short-term and some are longer term.

I would like to focus on one of the longer-term issues: affordability.

Whether it is not enough rental apartments or homes priced to meet the incomes of those who want or need to rent, or not enough single family homes priced for those who want to purchase, the disparity between what shelter costs and what incomes can afford was in nearly every conversation in San Diego.

The reasons were many:

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