Governor Newsom wants local solutions to California 'housing crisis'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom says the state needs local solutions in fixing what he calls the state's "housing crisis."

The governor met with San Francisco Mayor London Breed and several recipients of its homebuyer assistance programs.

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"It was a big deal to get a job here as a firefighter and to be able to afford a home. If I didn't have this program, there is no way I would be able to do it," says Joe Fazio, who has been working at the San Francisco Fire Department for four years.

The program he qualified for is San Francisco's first responder down payment assistance loan program.

He came up with $50,000 and the city gave him an additional $375,000, which he has to pay back over a period of time, or if he sells. But the big down payment gets him into a house, and with an affordable mortgage payment.

Mayor Breed says housing assistance is a necessary component in helping the city's shrinking middle class.

"Making sure that there are easy ways from them to get access to resources is critical to making sure our city remains diverse," says Breed.

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Such programs are getting praise from the governor. But he is coming down hard on cities to do more.

"We gave them flexibility, deep urgency, new rules, new regulations, we are going to help you with the nimbyism that exists. We are going to push back against that as well. But I want to see real results," says Newsom, of local government.

Since coming to office, Governor Newsom has made the housing crisis one the state's top priorities. Almost $3 billion has been earmarked to help cities and counties tackle the problem, including homelessness.

At Thursday's event, the governor spoke of cutting the red tape involved in getting housing built and says he will do more to address of rent gouging.

But when asked about the role that business and gentrification play in the housing crisis, Newsom says corporations have to be part of the solution.

"I can assure you this, talking to CEOs of these companies, they get it. Because their number one problem is housing for their employees. It drives up the cost for them as to recruiting talent and salaries. And it drives the most principle complaint they get in terms of retaining their key talent. Because there are families earning a great deal of money and can't afford to stay in the Bay Area," explains Newsom.

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To learn more about San Francisco's rental assistance programs, go here.

To learn about the city's housing assistance programs, go here.

To learn more about state programs, go here.

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