California’s housing crisis and its consequences for low-income families, the homeless, municipalities and the economy will be explored in a daylong conference at Chapman University on Thursday, April 5, in the George Bush Conference Center on the fourth floor of Beckman Hall.

This year’s theme at the fourth annual Local Government Conference will be “Will California Ever Figure Out How to House Itself?” The free conference is designed for anyone interested in learning more about this critical and timely issue.

“It’s hard to overstate the challenges posed by today’s California housing crisis. The average price of buying a house is now two-and-a-half times the national average, rents are at historic highs, and the state’s homeownership rate is the lowest it’s been since the Second World War. But this crisis is even worse, as it impacts virtually every institution in the state,” says Fred Smoller, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science in the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The conference will offer both a pragmatic and scholarly conversation about a range of potential solutions. Among the speakers will be policy makers, homeless advocates, journalists and researchers. The schedule includes the following four panels:

  • How Big Is Our Housing Problem? 9-10:30 a.m.
  • What Can Other Places Teach California About Addressing Its Housing Crisis? 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • Homelessness in Orange County 2-3:30 p.m.
  • What Strategies Would Work in Addressing Such a Large Crisis? 4-5:30 p.m.

In addition, the luncheon keynote talk will feature a presentation of Smoller’s most recent Orange County Survey, which examines political and social conditions through the eyes of county residents.

Attendance is free, but reservations are required. For more details, email