Ken Harrison 6:30 a.m., May 26
- Community Blog
On 07/28/2010, the San Diego City Council adopted a resolution declaring a continued state of emergency due to the severe shortage of affordable housing.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development defines "affordable" as housing that costs no more than 30% of a household's monthly income.
Public agencies define affordable housing as units with rent restrictions or price restrictions to maintain affordability. Eligible income levels and maximum rents for low- and moderate-income units are determined annually based on San Diego’s Area Median Income issued by HUD.
For information on qualifying income and maximum rents, please see the CCDC Affordable Housing Brochure: http://www.ccdc.com/images/stories/downloads/programs/affordable-housing/affordable_housing_brochure_2010.pdf
According to CCDC:
19.6% of housing developed downtown is affordable with income restrictions for very-low-to moderate-income households. 60% of downtown’s affordable units are available for very-low-income persons
Those numbers do not seem realistic. Checking their map, they are including SRO's, other buildings that are for a specific populace (women, alcoholic recovery, etc.). The highly touted Ten Fifty B building is allegedly 100% affordable. I got called by their management office and was hoping someone had not moved in. When I got there, I was advised there were not any affordable units but there was a studio apartment renting for $895/month. That is more than I pay now.
State law requires 15% of all units in a project must be affordable to very-low to moderate income households. That does not happen in downtown San Diego. Otherwise, places like The Mark, Icon, Park Place, Smart Corner, etc. would have affordable units. They don't. And the Strata, with its luxury apartments and ridiculously high rents, do they have any affordable units??? I do know that CCDC allows an "in lieu of" fee so developers can build their projects without having to concern themselves with "affordable" units. So, if the fees are paid on projects built downtown, those funds should be used to make sure affordable units are built downtown. CCDC does not advertise that aspect of their operations. This is from a CCDC meeting in December, 2004:
"One of the most controversial provisions is the ability for builders to pay a fee in lieu of providing affordable units. After lengthy testimony, the Committee voted to maintain the in-lieu fee option, but asked City staff to be prepared when the item is considered by the City Council in early 2005 to discuss a proposal by Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins to eliminate the in-lieu fee option."
At a meeting in 2005: "The Board further recommended that the City Council require a public process to determine the best and most prudent use of the in-lieu fees."
5+ years later, that option is still available to developers. The bottom line is that CCDC seems to cater to developers at the expense of those in need. Even with laws requiring the development of affordable housing, CCDC circumvents that by allowing the controversial 'in lieu of' fee. The City Council needs to address the issues and not just pass a state of emergency resolution. I have read the law and cannot figure out what is accomplished by this. It allows for:
"In periods of local emergency, political subdivisions have full power to provide mutual aid to any affected area in accordance with local ordinances, resolutions, emergency plans, or agreements therefor."
What does that mean in terms of affordable housing?
I continue my quest for an affordable apartment in the downtown area. Some places have waiting lists of more than 2 years. The City needs to step up and start giving some actual attention to those in need. The jobs market is fading, since the bursting of the construction balloon. Per County Supervisor Ron Roberts "The construction industry has a lot of excess capacity--a lot of people who would like to have work. The economic recession has been devastating to them." (http://sandiegometro.com/2010/08/scrambling-for-government-bucks/)
With so many people in need of living quarters that do not cost an arm & a leg, how about a confab between CCDC, SDHC, CCAC, City Council, Mayor Sanders and the public to discuss & find a solution to the needs of the populace of San Diego. We are not a city of the rich & famous.