Funding for affordable housing is looking rather bleak these days.
The end of redevelopment in early 2011 meant the end of affordable housing’s most significant funding source and subsequent attempts to make up for it have floundered or failed. Most recently, a bill written by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins that would have added a small fee to real estate transfers stalled, and another bill to boost the tax credit developers can claim when they build affordable housing was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
It’s in this uncertain era that Stephen Russell takes the helm of the San Diego Housing Federation — a coalition of affordable housing developers and related organizations — which announced him as its new executive director on Dec. 10.
Russell’s been involved in San Diego’s affordable housing scene for over a decade, including five years as the board president of the City Heights Community Development Corp. In 2002, as a staffer for then-Councilwoman Atkins, he played a significant role in organizing Housing Day, a first-of-its-kind, mega council meeting that launched a number of affordable housing initiatives.