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Bay Area Housing Crisis: Poll Finds 67% Saying It's Harder To Find A Home

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A new poll finds more than two-thirds of Bay Area voters saying a place to live has become harder to find, up sharply from 2021.

According to results of the Bay Area Council Poll of 1,000 voters released Thursday, 67% said finding a home became more difficult in the past year, up from 42% last year and 64% in 2020. The poll also found 65% are concerned about finding affordable housing for themselves.

In an earlier release of poll results, the group found the region's housing crisis was top of mind among respondents. When asked what the most important problem facing the Bay Area right now is, 24% listed homelessness as their first response, while another 21% listed housing and another 10% listed cost of living.

Nearly half of respondents, 48%, said they were considering leaving the Bay Area, with the region's high housing costs cited among the top reasons.

As for solutions to the Bay Area's ongoing housing woes, large majorities of respondents supported several strategies to increase the supply of homes.

More than 7 in 10 said it should be easier to build housing near transit and job centers, and nearly 80% backed cities approving projects of up to 10 units near transit and in urban infill areas. Meanwhile, 83% backed converting unused office and commercial spaces into homes.

The poll also found 57% of respondents supported new housing built in their neighborhood. More than 6 in 10 backed the construction of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes in areas currently zoned for single-family homes.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 9, which allows homeowners to build up to four units in a single-family lot. Some communities have expressed opposition to the measure, most notably Woodside, which recently considered declaring itself a mountain lion habitat before receiving a warning by Attorney General Rob Bonta.

"We've had some success in recent years in winning badly needed housing reforms, but the solutions so far just haven't reached the scale of the problem," council president Jim Wunderman said in a statement. "State and local leaders must find the courage to do more, to reject misguided local resistance to housing, embrace deeper reforms and end this tragedy."

While respondents backed a host of measures to solve the crisis, voters seemed less receptive to cities relinquishing control over housing decisions, with only 46% supporting the state in overriding local laws on where housing can be built. Meanwhile, 57% backed reduced funding for cities that did not provide enough housing.

The poll by EMC research was conducted during the first week of March. It has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.1%.

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