Earlier this week, the City Council declared a continued state of emergency due to the lack of affordable housing in San Diego.
Housing advocates and business representatives have each invested a lot of money and rhetoric to bring us to Tuesday’s impasse over the now-rescinded increase to the affordable housing fee.
The good news is that, once again, all of the stakeholders have said they’re committed to working together to resolve the issue. San Diego, let’s hold them to their word this time.
Here’s what needs to happen.
The cost of producing housing has to come down.
Affordable housing advocates are missing an opportunity to create a coalition with market-rate housing providers to bring down the high cost of production. Cost reductions are key to providing both rental and homeownership options to hardworking San Diegans.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
A couple of issues with your plan as I see it.
1. As mentioned by others the cost of a brand new rental built for a very different market is NOT the cost to create a low-income unit. There is a lot of demand for high end rentals right now. Like most things in life there are a variety of price points; high, medium and low. If the goal is to put everyone into a high end rental you will continue to be frustrated in making that happen.
2. The concept of a fixed and constant percent of the population that will need to be housed by others makes some sense. The mentally ill, the disabled, etc. I get that.
But to include subsidies for others who are working, and suggest that they will always need to be subsidized, that is where you lose me.
Affordable housing needs a few things so that it can be buildt and priced to be affordable. Fix those issues first. Easier permitting, fewer regulations that do not fit in with higher density, transit freindly setting, etc. Then it could start with land. Local governments and agencies have lots of underused land and buildings that could be reused for this purpose. They also have proven that they are good at gathering land at discounted rates when they are motivated to do so (see East Village for example). As mentioned there are federal subsidies to help the builder. With low cost or no-cost land, reduced regulations & building fees and federal building subsidies are you suggesting that it is not possible to build units that could sustainably rent for $1,000 to $1,300 a month?
3. Raises in income comes from somewhere. Higher prices, fewer people working, something. I don't buy the idea that those with a strong work ethic are destined to stay at minimum wage.
In San Diego, if you can;
a) speak english at a minimal level to be understood. b) are at least minimally clean and presentable. c) are able to make work enough of a priority to show up as scheduled and do that regularly d) do a job and e) work well with others, you will never stay at minimum wage. There are non-minimum jobs going begging every day. Only when a worker aquires at least of few of the above traits will they be able to stop competing with the un-skilled and the un-reliable who make up the 2% of the workforce that inhabit the minimum wage jobs.
I'm sorry but your op-ed reminded me why we are where we are at regarding affordable housing.
Gaining the political will and skill to get housing build that can sustainably rented for $1,000 to $1,300 a month and your problem will be solved.
I beleve it's possible with attention focused on that one goal.
Best of luck.
Rates for "recently completed buildings" are not the place to look for affordable housing! As with all items "used" and "reused" is where affordability begins and ends. If you want more support for renters - quote the rates in the real world where people live - not in the new world where rates are ALWAYS higher. This undermines your whole case for sympathy and turns the discussion into yet another way to angle for public money going to the rich - ostensibly to help those who need it but it doesn't really trickle down sufficiently to actually solve the problem - except for a lucky few.
Why stick the commercial real estate industry alone for increased fees for this??? They're trying to create jobs - something also deemed important for those trying to afford a place to live. And while you can try and reduce costs for developing new units, they never do much to decrease the prices, do they? When that bubble finally bursts, everyone involved in real estate suffers too.
Public funding should be focused on small units that can be made available to the homeless who require help to get off the streets. And what about direct rent subsidies to those facing homelessness - or the landlords who maintain affordable units? This direct approach helps those who need it without providing higher costs or subsidies to developers that help too few and are always manipulated.
Trying to manipulate the entire housing market for affordability is a fool's errand. Direct rental support to those in need - or to landlords maintaining units for housing them - is cheaper and would make a bigger difference to those who need it.
When a neighborhood has to pay 100% of the cost of density in terms of traffic, noise, litter, crime, loss of privacy, loss of sunlight, and so on, but only gets to keep a fraction of the tax revenue generated by each development, does anybody wonder why San Diego neighborhoods don't allow more density?
Fix that, and housing in San Diego will soon become more affordable.
"Housing is generally considered affordable when a family spends no more than a third of its income for housing-related costs."
I don't think this is a good metric because there are families who are willing to put up with high housing costs in order to live in areas with low transportation costs or other benefits.
"all of the stakeholders have said they’re committed to working together to resolve the issue"
they want to wrap it in the infrastructure bond. The business groups have already alluded to this.