Report Describes San Diego’s Shortfall of Affordable Homes

For Immediate Release May 28, 2014

New Study Details Depth of San Diego’s Continued Affordable Housing Crisis: Region Short 128,000 Homes Affordable to Families Living on Low Incomes.

With Housing Bond Funds Drying Up and Redevelopment Funds Gone, Report Calls for Renewed Local and State Investment in Affordable Homes

May 28, 2014 – SAN DIEGO, CA – Together, the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) and the San Diego Housing Federation (SDHF) have released a report that shows San Diego’s private housing market is not providing an adequate number of homes affordable to households living with the lowest wages in the region. The report also provides recommendations to local and state legislators and asks for immediate action to meet the housing needs of the region’s lowest-income residents.

The report “How California’s Housing Market Is Failing to Meet the Needs of Low-Income Families,” is part of a statewide study that finds, both locally and across the state, the housing bubble burst and the ensuing foreclosure crisis have not made housing more affordable to lower-income households.

“This report confirms what we already suspected – we are facing a critical shortage of homes that are affordable to most San Diegans,” noted San Diego Housing Federation’s Executive Director Bruce Reznik. “It is imperative that our local, state and federal officials act now to adopt policies that will ensure that all San Diegans have access to safe, stable and affordable homes.”

The report describes the magnitude of the shortfall, highlights those who are affected by cuts to housing programs and recommends local policy solutions to help mitigate the impact of San Diego County’s affordable housing crisis. Specifically, the report finds that:

• There is a shortfall of 127,930 homes affordable to San Diego County’s households living in poverty. These households are those earning less than thirty percent of the area median income and no more than fifty percent of area median income, overwhelmingly the region’s low-wage workers, veterans, the elderly and those living with physical or mental health disability
• Median rents in San Diego County increased by 23 percent between 2000 and 2012 while the median income declined by seven percent significantly driving up the percentage of income that households must spend on rent.
• Seven in ten very low-income households pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent.
• Ninety-one percent of all very low-income households in San Diego County do not have access to an affordable home.
• Over the past five years, San Diego has seen a 77 percent decrease in state and federal investment in affordable homes. The elimination of Redevelopment funding in 2012 and the exhaustion of state housing bonds funded by Propositions 46 and 1C, has meant the loss of investments that are critical to spur the production and preservation of affordable homes. Combined with reductions in federal funds, investment in affordable homes statewide has been reduced by more than $1.5 billion annually.

The San Diego Housing Federation and California Housing Partnership Corporation call on state leaders to implement policies at the local and state level to address this shortfall. In the San Diego region, we recommend:

1. Protect and preserve local Inclusionary Ordinances across San Diego County.
2. Uphold the Workforce Housing Offset in the City of San Diego.
3. Maintain and update Housing Impact Fees for affordable housing.
4. Advocate for Transit-oriented Development (TOD) that includes affordable housing and support equitable TOD policies such as land value recapture and land-banking for affordable housing development.
5. Identify and implement housing development cost-saving policies such as streamlining of permits and approvals, reduced parking requirements, and density bonuses.

At the statewide level the report recommends the restoration of exhausted funding streams and passing legislation to secure a permanent source of funding for the production and preservation of affordable homes. It also calls for commitments from the state’s general fund in existing state rental housing production and cites the need to return to local governments the tools to replace lost funding and meet obligations such as new local tax increment financing programs and measures to lower local voter thresholds for local funding of infrastructure from a two-thirds vote to 55 percent.

Finally, the report calls for investing a significant portion of Cap-and-Trade auction revenues in the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Program which would support the creation of affordable homes while helping California meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

For more information on the report and its recommendations contact the San Diego Housing Federation at (619) 239-6693.