Those Displaced by California Wildfires Face Region's Housing Shortages

October 19, 2017

Shelly Lanning, her husband and two children are staying with her mother in Ukiah, an hour from where her home burned down the morning of Oct. 9. She's not sure where she's going to live next.
Lanning, 46, ran a day-care center and her husband a catering company out of their home in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood. Fire destroyed the entire community, including the apartment building down the street from Lanning's home, where her 23-year-old son lived. Lanning would like to find a new place that will fit her whole family, including their Labrador retriever mix Jax. But she can't.
"We've been looking everywhere," Lanning said. "If there's anything available, they're gone in seconds."
Lanning is one of thousands of residents who have lost their homes in a region that has faced some of the worst effects of the state's housing affordability crisis. A limited housing supply fueled by the San Francisco Bay Area's booming job growth and decades of slow construction has forced home values and rents to near record highs.

Now, with Coffey Park and other neighborhoods devastated across the region — estimates of damage to residential properties have topped $3 billion, and Santa Rosa lost 5% of its homes — the number of new families flooding the market is giving rise to fears of widespread displacement and even higher costs.

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