President and CEO-Rick Wells
Workforce Housing is Critical to Our Economy
A recent public meeting at a neighborhood community center in San Rafael drew over 500 people, some to attend the meeting and some to protest it. Police were present to maintain order. The topic of the meeting: Affordable Housing. With the current housing inventory crunch and proposed development projects like Marinwood, Grady Ranch and others across Marin County, this subject has again taken center stage in Marin and the North Bay.
At the Chamber, we refer to this subject as Workforce Housing. For over a decade, the Chamber has recognized that the diverse workforce which is essential to economic vitality in Marin cannot exist without adequate affordable housing stock. That is why the challenge of providing workforce housing has long been the subject of discussions among Marin and North Bay decision makers.
As part of our mission to support economic vitality, the San Rafael Chamber supports the creation of a range of affordable housing, including first-time home buyer opportunities as well as rental housing. We encourage state-wide legislative reforms. Policies are needed to increase housing supply and affordability by removing barriers to housing production, especially in areas where jobs are located. It has long been the position of the San Rafael Chamber that affordable housing strategies need to include mixed-use developments, increased densities, second units, an expedited approval process and infill development and redevelopment.
So that our economy will provide the jobs needed to sustain our quality of life and minimize the pressure placed on our local infrastructure, density in downtown areas must be increased and housing must be added to existing retail developments where feasible. All proposed commercial development projects should consider a mixed-use design that features housing.
The Bay Area’s need for affordable workforce housing is at an all-time high. Escalating housing costs have forced thousands of employees to drive for hours every day to reach their workplaces, and for too many, working in Marin County has become unfeasible. The result is increased transportation congestion, GHG emissions, pressure on our infrastructure and stressed employees. No one seriously questions the critical role of Workforce Housing to the economic vitality of the North Bay. Please join with the San Rafael Chamber in encouraging North Bay decision makers at all levels to prioritize the creation of quality and affordable Workforce Housing.
Volunteer Leaders Drive Your Chamber
We have literally dozens of volunteer leaders whose support is essential to the Chamber and its ability to serve our members. Our Board of Directors, Committees, Ambassadors, event volunteers and many others all commit their time and resources to ensure the Chamber's ability to serve our members and our community. A special note of thanks to a few of our previously unsung chamber volunteers that were recently acknowledged at our State of the City Dinner. John Eells (Governmental Affairs) and Jerry Tallman (Business Showcase and Board of Directors) have gone above and beyond in their service to your Chamber. John was just awarded the Elissa Giambastiani Business Advocacy Award and Jerry was awarded the Mary Lou Jacobsen Award in recognition of their efforts. They have dedicated countless hours of their time, energy and expertise to help support the Chamber and the economic vitality of our community. On behalf of all of us, Thank you!
Please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com or (415) 454-4163 x101
President and CEO