By Gabriel Zucker
The California housing crisis can be summed up with one question: to build or not to build? The status quo has always favored single-family homeowners. The recent win for NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) over UC Berkeley has brought light to the biggest problem California college students are going to face for the foreseeable future: the lack of affordable housing.
California Governor Gavin Newsom passed a stack of bills focused on fixing the California housing crisis. The biggest bill was Senate Bill Number 9, which allows a four housing unit on a single-family lot. This prioritizes affordable housing for future generations and moves away from the outdated practice of single-family zoning.
NIMBYs are local homeowners against affordable housing in their neighborhoods. They argue that their home values will drop and they will lose the peacefulness of single-family-owned housing communities if affordable housing structures were built in the area.
The California Supreme Court sided with NIMBY in a court case against UC Berkeley, going against California’s push towards affordable housing. This forced the school to cut admissions by 2,500 students for the 2022 fall semester. NIMBY won because they argued that UC Berkeley was accepting more students than they could house.
College students all over California are beginning to feel the effects of the housing crisis. Demand is rising while the options are dwindling. There is a lack of options and if this does not change other colleges will soon be forced to cut their enrollment.
NIMBYs recent win highlights the division between single-family housing communities and the growing need for affordable housing. College towns are at the epicenter of this issue. College campuses will never be able to house their entire student population. Students rely on the surrounding community to find housing.
The NIMBY movement is fighting against this change, wanting to preserve a way of life that does not exist anymore. The single-family home is not possible anymore in a changing climate and ever-growing homeless population. NIMBYs are clinging to their current comfortability instead of adapting to the needs of the next generation.
Cal Poly Humboldt Students will soon feel the effects of this landmark decision. The influx of new students is a great thing for the university’s status but the campus will soon face tough decisions if they do not adapt to the changing times and work with the community to build more affordable housing in the surrounding area.
A giant problem this semester has been the lack of parking on campus. Students must park farther and farther away from their housing because of the increase of students and stagnation of parking spaces. I had to spend months trying to find an apartment off-campus this past semester. There are already tell-tale signs of the strain the student body is putting on the schools’ resources. If UC Berkeley is a sign of things to come we must adapt before it is too late.