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Over 8 In 10 Bay Area Residents Agree State In Housing Crisis, Poll Finds

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – More than eight in ten Bay Area voters agree that California is in a housing crisis and large majorities say more housing for low income people is needed, according to a new poll.

In a survey of 1,125 California voters by Quinnipiac University, 78 percent of people polled said the state's housing woes are indeed a crisis, including 85 percent of Bay Area voters surveyed. Large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, people from all age groups and those who rent or own where they live agree on the situation of ever increasing housing costs being a crisis.

When respondents were asked if they could afford to live in California, only 55 percent said they could. Meanwhile, 63 percent of renters said living in California was unaffordable, along with 58 percent of people between the ages of 18-34 and 53 percent between the ages of 35-49.

By comparison, 68 percent of those 65 and older, along with 68 percent of homeowners surveyed said it was affordable.

The poll found more than 70 percent of Californians, including 90 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans, said more housing for low-income people should be built.

Nearly 75 percent of people polled, including 81 percent of Bay Area voters surveyed, told Quinnipiac that they support building low-income housing in their own communities.

Building that affordable housing is easier said than done, with a report released earlier this year finding some Bay Area cities are decades, even centuries away from meeting their affordable housing goals, if trends continue.

More than 80 percent surveyed said homelessness in California is a "very serious" issue, while nearly 70 percent said the state is doing too little to help the homeless. From Silicon Valley, to the Peninsula, to San Francisco, recent official counts find homelessness is rising throughout the Bay Area. Many of the homeless have resorted to living in cars and RVs.

When asked about causes behind homelessness, nearly 60 percent say the cost of housing is a major cause. Meanwhile, less than 20 percent say homeless people themselves are to blame for their situation.

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"There is enormous concern over the state's spiraling homeless issue, but there is empathy, as California voters do not blame the homeless for their living situation. In fact, voters believe the homeless aren't getting the support they need," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Tim Fang is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco and a native of the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @fangtj.

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