SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) A group that's not willing to wait any longer chanted and held signs while marching through downtown Santa Cruz, Saturday.
They stopped at several seemingly empty parking lots in downtown. Protestors said the lots are the perfect place for new affordable housing.
"A lot of families have left. We've had friends have gone homeless. It just hurts. This housing crisis is painful," said Santa Cruz resident, Kyle Kelley.
The group proposed that the City of Santa Cruz use land they already own to help solve a region-wide housing crisis. For now, they said some of downtown's less used parking lots could be the answer as to where the city would even build.
"When I was a grad student, I lived in grad student housing. It was convenient, but expensive. Finding housing afterwards was always a challenge off campus. As I started my career here in Santa Cruz, it got even more difficult," said Santa Cruz resident and UCSC Alumni, Charlie Vaske.
The University of California-Santa Cruz grad students that continue to strike and rally for higher pay to afford housing, inspired Vaske to speak in front of dozens, Saturday. "It was important for me to be here. When I look to the future and see what my child will inherit, what his entire generation will inherit, I worry," said Vaske.
The City of Santa Cruz noted that there will be obstacles to building new housing units. Vice Mayor, Donna Meyers, said the city is out of redevelopment dollars and will have to get funding elsewhere. "We're going to be competing along with other communities for grants. We're looking at how to potentially raise funds otherwise or whether or not we do some kind of a tax measure in the future," said Meyers.