As a complement to our task of protecting the natural world, EHL also seeks to meet California’s housing challenge.

There is little contention that, in Southern California, housing supply, especially for with those low and moderate income, is insufficient, and that rents are excessive. Solutions to the problem vary, from “slow growth” to “build anything, anywhere.” 

In the 1990s, EHL was an early leader in the environmental community for “smart growth,” which sought to intensify development in cities and around transit and to recognize the constraints of habitat and agriculture. Local governments would countenance no limitations on their discretion, however, and at the state level, only a voluntary process for developing regional smart growth strategies was mandated. At the same time, the building industry, with considerable justification, decried obstacles to increasing density, even in urban locations.

In the San Diego region, EHL has joined forces with economic, environmental, transportation, and civic interests in the Housing You Matters coalition, to promote the common ground of city-centered growth. <> We have already encountered successes like retaining transit-supportive densities in City of San Diego community plans. 

There are also dozens of bills introduced in Sacramento on the housing topic, most of these dealing with low income housing. EHL will continue to engage both locally and statewide, realizing that accommodating growth in an efficient and greenhouse gas-responsible way is the best response to the housing shortage.