It’s Time for Home Repair

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

If you’re lucky enough in this pandemic to not have much to do—no job to work remotely, no children to help with distance learning, no volunteering to do because you’re old or have a health condition that makes you at risk—then take a look around the house

One unexplored piece of California’s housing crisis is the condition of its existing housing. That condition is bad. The state’s housing stock has aged very poorly, and much of our housing is in poor condition. Indeed, our housing stock now profiles like that of a Rust Belt state, rather than the Western state we are.

The pandemic is an opportunity to fix what you can, without putting yourself at risk. It’s time to clean and paint and check things, so you can make a list of things that might be repaired when this is all over. This may seem like small stuff, but reviving older housing stock is going to be crucial to California’s ability to house itself.

Indeed, one wonders if the state might set aside a little money to encourage people to make repairs on their properties at this time. With many people having so little to do, home repair is one thing you can safely and responsibly do right now.

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