City Heights Square opened its doors to low-income seniors in October, providing 151 affordable units. The project by Price Charities was funded with redevelopment dollars. | Photo Credit: City Heights Life
Finding an affordable place to live in San Diego is a challenge. More and more people are being priced out the market which is why it is so important to keep building affordable housing projects.
There are laws defining how much affordable housing must be built whenever a developer builds a new project, and 20 percent of redevelopment money is supposed to go that affordable housing.
Is that all gone now that redevelopment agencies have been eliminated by the state supreme court?
According to Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation Susan Tinsky, the ruling cuts off the second largest source of funding for affordable housing in California. It also nullifies a guarantee that at least 15 percent of all new units built in a redevelopment area will be affordable.
“The ruling is really a significant blow for anyone in California who is struggling to pay the rent, that is living in unsafe or crowded conditions right now,” Tinsky told KPBS Midday Edition host Alison St John. “It really is a significant blow to those folks as well as folks that are trying to provide affordable housing in the community.”
But Catherine Rodman of Affordable Housing Advocates said the situation isn’t dire just yet. She said agencies will have to fulfill existing obligations to build affordable housing before they can dissolve, meaning the county should see many more units built in the the near future.
“The federal and state constitutions don’t allow for impairment of contracts,” Rodman said. “You can’t just disable someone from fulfilling their contractual obligations, and I believe the court recognized that.”
For the long term, both agreed there’s a great need to find a secure source of funding for affordable housing.
“We have the opportunity to put our heads together and work together to look at a new source for affordable housing funding, whether that is reforming and rethinking what redevelopment is or if it is identifying a unique source of funding for affordable housing,” Tinsky said.