“Ventura County is facing tremendous pressure from growth,” she said. “It’s an area of sprawl. Open space is disappearing quickly. A lot of Ventura County residents still work in Los Angeles and rely on their cars and the freeway to get to work.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“Loan requirements need to be more flexible and regulatory requirements have to be relaxed,” he said regarding barriers that keep home-building costs high and prevent first-time homebuyers from getting mortgages. “My concern is with people who work every day and serve us every day. Teachers are getting burned out trying to get back and forth to work,” he said. In some areas of California, people making $70,000 a year or more are finding it impossible to buy homes near their jobs, Jackson said. The Bush administration is committed to increasing the number of homeowners in the United States, particularly African-Americans and Latinos who have been denied mortgages in the past even though they had good jobs, he said. “We have to take a stand to make sure that everyone is given an opportunity to find decent, affordable housing,” he said. “We have to protect the country so that those who serve us best have an opportunity to enjoy the American dream.” Several people attending Wednesday’s meeting said Ventura County’s housing problems are tied to the lack of public transportation in the area. “The Southern California area is extremely expensive, and I don’t see a clear direction for how that can change,” said Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, director of the Urban Planning Department at UCLA. “A lot of my students are telling me they don’t think they will be able to buy houses. SIMI VALLEY – State and local governments need to support the Bush administration’s efforts to deal with critical housing problems faced by teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development told local officials last week. The problem of people with good jobs who want to buy homes near their work is now of growing concern in the Simi and Conejo valleys, which grew up as bedroom communities in the 1960s and ’70s because they offered relatively low-cost housing to young people who worked in Los Angeles. Now, the eastern Ventura County area has some of the highest housing costs in Southern California, with the median price over $600,000, squeezing teachers, police officers and others out of the market even if they work in the county. Speaking to a group of about 30 mayors, city council members and county supervisors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday evening, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said people nationwide are finding it more and more difficult to find homes close to work.