It’s no secret we have a long way to go to address our housing crisis. But what we cannot do is halt innovation under the false pretense it will solve this problem.
I believe one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our boundless ingenuity. The growth of the sharing economy in recent years has been transformational in cities across our country. It also has introduced questions never contemplated when our current municipal regulations were drafted.
When ride-sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft entered the heavily regulated airport scene, it raised security questions and other concerns. The San Diego Regional Airport Authority recognized many travelers preferred ride-share companies over taxis, and, to its credit, developed a pilot program that addressed the unique circumstances of airport pickups.
My office has been advocating to do the same for another popular segment of the sharing economy: home-sharing and short-term vacation rentals. Platforms like Airbnb allow residents to rent out a single room or their entire home on a short-term basis, offer visitors a unique traveling experience and provide San Diegans supplemental income.
Home-sharing has benefited San Diego’s economy. A comprehensive economic study conducted by the National University System Institute for Policy Research found short-term vacation rentals infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into San Diego’s economy each year – benefiting all of us.
San Diegans who rent out all or a portion of their homes earn about $110 million in rental income annually, supplementing their household incomes and enhancing our local economy. Their guests spend more than $86 million per year supporting the shops, restaurants and other businesses that make our neighborhoods vibrant.