Bay Area Residents Prioritize Diversity, Affordable Housing

Bay Area Residents Prioritize Diversity, Affordable Housing

Three-quarters of San Francisco Bay Area residents believe that ensuring opportunity for all should be a priority, while more than half believe the region is on the wrong track, a five-county survey commissioned by the San Francisco Foundation's Bay Area Leads Fund finds.

According to the survey, 74 percent of respondents said ensuring opportunity regardless of race should be a priority, including 41 percent who saw it as a "very high priority"; 76 percent agreed that having people from different races and income levels is part of what makes the Bay Area a great place to live; and 65 percent said protecting the racial and cultural diversity of neighborhoods and local communities should be a priority, including 33 percent who rated it a "very high priority." The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents agreed there should be affordable housing for all people, regardless of race, across the Bay Area, while 77 percent said the same of their own neighborhoods; 79 percent and 57 percent said making housing more affordable should be a priority or very high priority; and 75 percent and 43 percent said strictly enforcing laws that prevent racial discrimination by landlords, developers, banks, employers, and others should be a priority or very high priority.

At the same time, the survey found that 53 percent of respondents felt the Bay Area was on the wrong track, up from 45 percent in a 2016 survey, with 67 percent saying they were unhappy or worried about the future of the region, up from 57 percent. Government and elected officials were seen as being most able to have a positive impact on community issues such as preserving diversity (69 percent), ensuring safe and affordable housing for all (68 percent), and ensuring that individuals are able to build financial stability and wealth (64 percent).

"This survey shows us just how worried people are, but it is also a reminder of what everyone wants — an affordable place to call home in a community where they feel they belong," said San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell. "People see what's happening around them. They see people being pushed out of their communities and they feel the threat to their own future. Most of all, they want action. They want government and elected officials as well as businesses, landlords, financial institutions, and nonprofits to work together to find a way to address this challenge."