Experts address regional housing issues

A thriving region requires jobs, a trained workforce and a supply of affordable housing. How do we get there?

The regional housing challenge will be the topic addressed by a panel of experts on Oct. 6, when the President’s Speaker Series returns to Cal State Monterey Bay.

A thriving region requires not only jobs and a trained workforce, but also an adequate and affordable supply of housing. The Monterey Bay region is in the midst of a housing crisis in terms of available stock and affordability. Only 15 percent of people in Santa Cruz County and 27 percent of Monterey County residents can afford to own a home.

How can the region ensure this essential component of a productive regional economy? What are the appropriate policy levers in zoning and strategic planning? What other economic elements, such as alternative funding sources, must be present? The panelists will address these and other issues.

Panelists include:

• Carol Galante, professor of housing and urban policy at UC Berkeley and a former official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration. Earlier in her career, she served as president of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, the largest non-profit developer of affordable mixed-use developments in California.

• Jennifer LeSar, an expert in real estate, urban revitalization and investment banking. She received a master’s of business administration degree and a master’s in urban planning from UCLA.

• Owen Lawlor, principal of a land use and real estate development firm in Santa Cruz. He earned a master’s degree in real estate development from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from UC Santa Cruz.

This year’s speaker series is made possible by a generous contribution from Bud and Rebecca Colligan.

The discussion will start at 3:30 p.m. in the World Theater on Sixth Avenue near A Street. A question-and-answer session and a public reception will follow. Driving directions and a campus map are available at

The community is invited to this free event. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling the World Theater box office at 582-4580, or going online at


Cal State Monterey Bay provides more than 7,000 students an extraordinary opportunity to learn on a residential campus on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Our diverse student body receives personal attention in small classes while pursing degrees in 23 undergraduate and eight graduate majors. Founded in 1994 on the former site of Fort Ord by educators and community leaders, Cal State Monterey Bay faculty and staff build on that legacy as we explore innovative ways to meet the needs of a new generation of students while simultaneously powering the economy of the tri-county region.