S.D’s housing panel will distribute the funds to applicants
As part of an ongoing plan to address San Diego’s housing crisis and homeless population, city officials on Tuesday announced that up to $50 million will be available to developers for projects that create or preserve affordable units.
“Solutions to our housing crisis are solutions to our homeless crisis,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a news conference in front of City College’s Saville Theatre, just across the street from an affordable housing project under construction. “Today we have an opportunity to make a difference on both.”
Faulconer and others at the event acknowledged that there still is much to be done.
The median home price in San Diego County reached a record high $579,750 in July, an increase of 8 percent in the past year. A recent study found potential buyers need to earn about $131,000 annually to afford a median-priced single-family home.
Rent also is at an all-time high in the county, with the average unit going for about $1,900 a month.
The $50 million pool announced Tuesday includes $20 million for affordable rental housing with supportive services for the homeless, $20 million for affordable rental units for low-income San Diegans, and $10 million to rehabilitate affordable rental units or extend their affordability.
“It’s a significant amount of money,” San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez said at the news conference. “We need more, but this is a great start.”
The $50 million will be administered by the city’s Housing Commission.
Of the $50 million, $20 million represents the latest phase of the commission’s homelessness action plan, Housing First San Diego.
Since launching the plan in 2014, the commission has awarded $35.8 million toward the development of 500 permanent supportive housing units.
The plan announced Tuesday includes 525 housing vouchers for rental assistance for homeless people, with 25 specifically for homeless veterans.
Less than half of the $20 million homeless portion comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, while about $11.7 million was from the city’s Inclusionary Housing Fund. Money for the fund comes from fees developers pay in lieu of including affordable units in projects.
The fund got an unexpected $9 million bump this fiscal year, allowing the Housing Commission to increase its funding for projects, according to a news release from the city.
The Inclusionary Housing Fund also is providing $18.5 million for affordable rental units. The units will be available to San Diegans whose income is not more than 60 percent of the area median income, or $58,380 for a four-person household.
The balance of the Inclusionary Housing Fund will be about $4 million after funding the projects.
The final $10 million will fund projects that involve buying and rehabilitating existing rental property, which will remain affordable for 55 years for households with income up to 80 for the Area Median Income, or $77,850 for a four-person household.
The money will come from federal Community Development Block Grant Affordable Housing Revolving Loan Funds, which HUD allocates.
It’s unknown how many units may be generated from the new funding.
Tuesday’s announcement comes about one month after the City Council rejected a proposal to put an initiative on the November ballot to expand the Convention Center and provide about $1.8 billion for homeless programs, including housing.
Developers interested in applying for the funds were asked to visit the commission’s website, www.sdhc.org, and access PlanetBids through its vendor portal.
San Diego Union-Tribune