Voice of San Diego: San Diego Wants the State to Meet in the Middle on Housing

Friday, April 21, 2017
As excerpted from the Voice of San Diego:

Among the 130 housing bills before the state Legislature is one sponsored by the city of San Diego that would allow local housing authorities, like the San Diego Housing Commission, to build middle-income housing.

As legislators from all over California put forth potential housing solutions – 130 bills, to be precise – the city of San Diego is weighing in, sponsoring its own housing bill with the help of local Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

The measure, AB 1637, would allow local housing authorities, like the San Diego Housing Commission, to get involved in mixed-income housing that contains some subsidized and some market-rate units.

Housing authorities traditionally deal exclusively with low-income housing, meaning they can only develop, fund and operate housing meant for people who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income. In San Diego, that means making $72,750 for a family of four.

If the bill passes, the Housing Commission would be able to use certain funds toward currently non-subsidized, market-rate housing, as long as at least 20 percent of the development was set aside for low-income housing. The market-rate housing would be for middle class residents or what the bill calls “workforce housing,” people who make between 81 percent and 150 percent of San Diego’s median income.

The bill originated from a report produced by the San Diego Housing Commission in 2015 that looked at San Diego’s housing affordability problem and posed potential solutions. This 80/20, mixed-income model was one of the solutions.