Developer Jeff Burum resumes his chairmanship of the affordable housing development non-profit he co-founded just as California faces a tight inventory in new living spaces that has rent devouring apartment dweller’s paychecks and puts home prices out of reach of middle-class wage earners. And it’s affordable housing that has drawn the most attention in the state Legislature, with the cost of housing going up, while the number of housing starts in California has slipped from 200,000 annually from 1955 to 1989 to an average of 80,000 annually in the past decade. “The big picture is not very complicated,” Steve PonTell, president and chief executive officer of National Community Renaissance, the firm Burum and Andrew Wright started a quarter-century ago, said in a telephone interview Monday. “It’s supply and demand.” California officials estimate the deficit of affordable housing across the state is at 1.5 million units. Affordable housing means units accessible to those whose wages are below the local area median income.
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