Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
With Bob Filner being declared San Diego's next mayor everyone wants to see where he will focus his energy and more importantly where he will "focus" our money. There is obviously plenty that needs to be done. But I am already concerned by the headline that "Filner promises neighborhood focus for city ."
I saw that he had received the endorsement of one of the states most powerful interests....the Affordable Housing Industry. It is one of the most profitable and secretive special interests operating in our state and I would argue....running our state. If you are a developer affordable housing is a dream. You get out of many requirements like parking that would normally cut into your profits in the private market, you get huge tax credits, guaranteed sales and you get tons of money! In fact developers are paid significantly more for the same projects than they would make in the private market. And since you don't need to appeal to the general public and you get paid regardless of the quality, the quality is significantly lower than for-profit projects.
Ironically these projects are said to "fix" blight in areas like North Park, yet the evidence shows they do the exact opposite. Look at what has happened to Florida street. Dozens of cute historic bungalows were bulldozed for giant affordable housing projects. People who live near them said the projects have devastated the neighborhood--claiming crime has skyrocketed, parking is impossible since developers are not required to provide much, and their property values are sinking as a result.
North Park is saturated with these banal tenement projects that don't add any real value to the neighborhood at all. And if Filner shifts the tax increment from Redevelopment to these "neglected neighborhoods" we are in big trouble. I live in one of these neglected neighborhoods and I don't want RDA money. Please use the money for vouchers so people are not forced to live in these "projects" and we are not forced to look at anymore of these projects.
Here is an article demonstrating the absurd disproportionate cost of affordable housing projects in the country. It's easy to see why they are so attractive to developers. (Side note: perhaps we wouldn't need excessive tax hikes if we stopped subsidizing these projects).
"The cost of sheltering a community’s neediest residents has been rising and so has the heat surrounding the hefty price tags.
From California to Maine, the amount being spent on low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and other affordable housing properties is under growing political and public scrutiny.
“Certainly affordable housing costs are perceived to be out of hand by people who are not in the industry,” said David Smith, chairman of Recap Real Estate Advisers, a Boston-based firm that works with multifamily property developers. “They see foreclosed homes in the Central Valley of California selling for $175,000 or less, and there are thousands of them, when new affordable housing in San Diego can cost $450,000 per unit. To them, that doesn’t add up.”
It’s a major political problem, and Smith is surprised more people don’t see it. Survey: LIHTC Project Costs
High development costs for low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments have come under fire around the nation. Housing Finance Online asked readers their views on the topic.
More than half of the survey respondents—56.8 percent—agreed that they believe the cost of developing LIHTC properties has gotten too high nationwide, while 27 percent said it is becoming too costly in only certain areas of the country. “Low-income properties are being developed with unnecessary design features that are not required and should not be part of low-income housing. Low-income housing should be basic in design, which allows for long-term use, proper enveloping, and cost effectiveness,” noted one respondent. Other respondents cited Davis-Bacon wages and accounting and legal fees behind the higher costs."