by Paul Moomjean
Ventura County has always been a story of two cities. Despite all the wealth and prestige of Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas, there have been pockets of poverty that plagued other parts of the county. For years, Simi Valley has been viewed as a trailer park community, a stereotypical reputation on television and in movies. Oxnard has reduced crime rates as the community continues to develop larger-than-life malls and castles for high schools and district buildings, but much of the problems these communities face is due to the fact that neighboring communities like Thousand Oaks built homes and maintained a near-impossible livelihood.
The city of Thousand Oaks, however, has made progress in passing two ordinances to provide both shelter resources for the homeless and affordable housing. For the ultra-conservative community (do you remember the townspeople protesting the Hooters?), These are the steps necessary for a community to serve those who remain.
I have worked in Thousand Oaks for the past 20 years as a teacher at Hillcrest Christian School and as a bookseller and children’s book organizer at Borders Bookstore (RIP, old friend). I have strong roots in this community coaching all-star county wrestling teams, helping organize the Newbury Park wrestling tournament, and writing for the Ventura County Reporter since November 2008 (happy 13e birthday for me!). When I read in the VC Star that city council is “buying the old Hillcrest Christian School site for $ 10 million to convert it into affordable housing,” I was elated.
Too often, communities lose their best and brightest middle class residents after college because they cannot afford to live in the place that raised them. According to Realtor.com, “As of August 2021, the median home price in Ventura County, California was $ 799,000, trending up 12.5% year-over-year. The median price of a home per square foot was $ 449. The median selling price of a home was $ 780,000.
Still, “As of August 2021, the median home price in Thousand Oaks, California was $ 975,000, trending up 9.6% year-over-year. The median price of a home per square foot was $ 470. The median price of homes sold was $ 950,000.
That’s almost $ 200,000 more than the rest of the county. How are young adults supposed to buy a house when the market is close to $ 1 million?
The VC Star reported, “The city council voted 5-0 at its August 31 meeting to approve the purchase of the private school.
“It would be a great opportunity for the city to work with a potential affordable housing developer on the site to provide much-needed affordable units in the city,” Haider Alawami, the city’s director of economic development, told council. The council also voted 4-1 to require units, such as townhouses or condominiums, to be for sale, not for rent, so low-income residents can build equity. The Star reported: “Councilor Kevin McNamee has expressed his dissent on the grounds that he favors rentals with a stipulation that tenants can only live there for a limited time.” Because that’s how the accommodation is?
He added that this will encourage “occupants to relocate economically and buy a house at market price. [. . .] My concern about homeownership for low income people is that this model offers no incentive to move out of low income housing.
Thousand Oaks also plans to strike a deal with Ventura County and a commercial real estate company in hopes of securing state funding to run the local Quality Inn and Suites as the first homeless shelter in the region. city. With a 4: 1 vote to allow the progressive idea, Councilor McNamee again voiced his dissent, saying that “any program to tackle homelessness must include a path to independence, not pauperism and the addiction”.
As the town looks to the future, McNamee appears to be the bad guy here, fearing the homeless and low-income homeowners in his town. I’ve spent a lot of time with “men” like McNamee, who blame anyone who didn’t succeed the way they did. I’m sure he’s a hard worker, but he also posted Facebook posts against minimum wage and suggested that newly released criminals shouldn’t be allowed to live in his community after paying their debt to society. .
In order for our society to move forward and provide avenues for success, our county must continue these types of benevolent ideas but get rid of these Scrooges like Kevin McNamee, men who seem bored that others in their youth are not where he is. is in his old age.