Mayor Dyer has traveled to Vienna, Austria to participate in a housing study; searching for insight as Fresno continues to deal with its affordable housing crisis.
Statistics show the cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Fresno rose 28% between 2021 and 2022. Mayor Dyer says the rising cost of living paired with an increased demand for housing has put a strain on a city already lacking in affordable housing options.
“If we’re ever going to meet the demands that we have in our city for housing, we’re going to have to increase our density,” he said.
Vienna is a city known for its high-density, public housing system. Twenty-five percent of all housing is owned by the city and uses a cost rental approach, which means their rent cannot exceed 20-25% of their income. Dyer said Fresno needs to build a lot of smaller, multi-story units in areas like Blackstone and downtown Fresno.
“We’re going to have to increase our density in areas where we have readily available public transportation or pedestrian-friendly areas,” he said.
Earlier this year, the city approved the “One Fresno Housing Plan,” which sets aside $42 million from the American Rescue Plan to tackle the city’s housing crisis. Policy advocate Karla Martinez with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability says community members are gathering on Wednesday to share what they believe that money should go towards.
“Homeownership programs, rent stabilization like they have in Vienna, rental assistance, local tenant protections so folks can stay in existing housing while the city continues to build more and more of it…” Martinez said.
In the One-Fresno Housing Plan, it says meeting the demands of Fresno would mean adding 6900 affordable housing units and 4100 market-rate units over the next three years, which Dyer says is only possible with increased density.