Right now it’s flying under the radar, unnoticed, but the potential impact of California Latinos on the housing shortage debate bears watching Latinos are the wild card in one of the state’s most critical policy debates . . . what to do about the housing shortage.

Latinos are disproportionately damaged by the state’s housing shortage. Is the Latino community ready to say Basta?  Enough is enough. The answer to that question is worth keeping a close eye on.

They certainly have reasons. The facts are stark.  The housing shortage is having an absolutely corrosive effect on the lives of Latino families.

Rents and home prices have soared as a consequence of the housing shortage and that, in turn, has placed great financial stress on many Latino households.  The housing squeeze means Latino households are forced to spend an increasingly larger and larger percentage of their income on rents and mortgages.

Many Latino families have been forced to move frequently — and with each move to a less desirable neighborhood often at an increasingly greater cost. Constant moving means extended families are broken apart. Latino children are uprooted from schools.  Families are displaced from neighborhoods. The housing shortage is literally becoming a crisis tearing into the fabric of Latino family structure and community cohesion.

And yet the current political response has failed to focus on the grievous damage to California’s Latino community. Is that about to change? It certainly could because Latinos are the variable that tips the scales in the policy debate over how to address the housing shortage. California’s Latino demographic “sleeping giant” has the potential to change the direction of the policy debate.

Factor this in. Latinos form the backbone of California’s construction industry from workforce to contractors to entrepreneurs.  And simply put, one response to the housing shortage is building more homes.

Right now, more homes are not being built, and the consequences for Latino California are harsh.  Jobs are forsaken and local Latino economies all across California are damaged by the housing shortage. When employment in the construction industry hits a slowdown or comes to a standstill, Latino workers, Latino contractors, and Latino entrepreneurs connected to the building industry, along with their families, suffer.

Who knows, perhaps all it would take is just the right spark to exert their considerable influence on the current housing policy debate.

Latinos could help force real legislative action. Latino legislators comprise an influential Legislative caucus. And entering the 2020 election season everybody will want Latino votes. Latino legislators can tip the debate. Will they act?

Can Latinos create enough political pressure to make demands on California’s housing policy debate?  Latino City Councils and county officials can flex their muscle. Latino Mayors and local Latino institutions can put pressure on the Legislature and the Governor to act in a meaningful way. Will they?

Univision and Telemundo shape Latino opinion and their news reports provide a platform that greatly raises the profile of the housing issue. As the housing shortage picture in the Latino community continues to darken will the push to act increase?

Will the rising tide of Latino California’s influence and power and Latino impatience and disillusionment over the lack of action to address the state’s housing shortage come to a head?

Today California Latinos have achieved an unprecedented ability to influence state politics. How will the simmering housing shortage political scenario continue to play out in Sacramento? Or in the 2020 election year?  For Latino California the ramifications will be meaningful and far reaching.