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 listed below. If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact us.
Note: These are links to webinars on other websites.
1. “Affordable Housing in Santa Cruz” (2019).
2. “ADU Webinar with Appraisal Info” (2020):
4. “How to Design an ADU” (2019).
5. “ADU Financing & Appraisals” (2019).
- Backyard Homes in San Jose
- Second Unit Resources Center
- Home for All
- Hello Housing/Midpen Housing
- Accessory Dwellings
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs)
- Accessory Dwelling Units
- Heart of San Mateo County Accessory Dwelling Units
- What is an ADU: Accessory Dwelling Units explained
Articles, publications & books
- Granny Flat Startup Rakes In New Funding As Housing Shortage Worsens
- Santa Cruz Accessory Dwelling Unit Manual
- Jake Wegmann & Karen Chapple, (2014) “Hidden density in single family neighborhoods: backyard cottages as an equitable smart growth strategy,” Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 7:3 (2014): 307-329.
- Karen Chapple, et al., “A Solution on the Ground: Assessing the Feasibility of Second Units in Unincorporated San Mateo County,” UC Berkeley Center for Community Innovation, 2017.
City & State Agencies
- State of California Housing & Community Development
- City of Santa Cruz Accessory Dwelling Units
- Santa Cruz County Accessory Dwelling Units
- San Francisco Planning Dept. Accessory Dwelling Units
- San Jose Planning Dept. Accessory Dwelling Units
- City of San Mateo Accessory Dwelling Units
- Santa Clara County Accessory Dwelling Units
- City of Cupertino ADU Programs & Resources
Designers, builder, manufacturers
- United Dwelling
- Plus Hus
- US Modular
- Macy Homes
- Santa Cruz Construction Guild
- Green Galaxy Builders
- ADU Now.House
- Rent the Backyard
- Santa Cruz County Accessory Dwelling Unit Cost & Financing Guide
- Housable: How to Finance an ADU
- Konhoff Company, “The 2019 Homeowner’s Guide to Building an ADU in California & Financing it the Easy Way.”
- Kol Peterson, Building an ADU, “ADUs from an Investor’s Perspective“
Law & Regulation
While California state regulations now govern many aspects of ADU construction, individual cities continue to impose individual requirements. Look up “ADU regulation” for your particular city or county.
- Deirdre Pfeiffer, “Regulating ADUs in California: Local Approaches & Outcomes,” UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation, May 2019.
- Derek Leavitt, “The 12 Most Critical 2020 ADU Rule Changes for California”