Affordable & Sustainable Housing

Imagine Affordable Housing for Santa Cruz

Housing prices in Santa Cruz are among the highest in the United States, with median rents for a one-bedroom apartment exceeding $2,000 This sum is beyond the reach of many tenants, including professionals on whom community well-being depends— teachers, police, firefighters, construction and service employees, janitors–but who cannot afford to live in the city where they work and serve. The high cost of housing has also “trapped” homeowners who cannot afford to downsize because of the property tax burden that would come with a new house, and it contributes to people sleeping in their cars because there are not enough rentals available at an affordable price.  What are we to do?

  • Imagine helping Santa Cruz residents find affordable housing. 
  • Imagine teachers, police, university instructors and staff and other public employees being able to live in Santa Cruz. 
  • Imagine bringing your aging parents and adult children to live near you.
  • Imagine downsizing your living space without having to move somewhere else. Imagine affordable housing in backyards, garages and extra bedrooms.
  • Imagine what could be done Santa Cruz and homeowners were able to build hundreds or even thousands of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) across the city. 

An ADU is a self-contained housing unit addition to a primary residence,  ranging in size from 200 to 1,200 square feet. ADUs come in a number of flavors–free-standing units, additions to existing houses and “over- the-garage” units.  What does an ADU cost?  Most construction companies quote a figure of $150,000 to $300,000 for an architect designed, “stick-built,” stand-alone unit ($250-500 per square foot), depending on various bells and whistles.  But the installed cost of various pre-built and manufactured structures could be installed for $100,000, making the ADU option considerably more attractive.

You can find out more about SSRF’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Program in this policy paper, and from the resources on this page. If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact us.

SSRF recently held an on-line event to begin setting up a regional organization to assist homeowners in building Junior ADUs and stand-alone ADUs.  You can find the video of the meeting here.