By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
Image credit: PhotoSpin
May 1, 2019 (San Diego) - The County Board of Supervisors today voted to spend an additional $25 million to build more affordable housing units in the region.
The recommendations include revisions to the Innovative Housing Initiative ordinance to broaden the criteria for use of future monies to provide more opportunities for critical housing assistance.
“This is an innovative public/private partnership,” said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob. “The first $25 million, we’re expecting one thousan affordable housing units. We expect no less on the (other)$25 million…two thousand affordable housing units is not a bad deal. It’s not a full solution, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
In 2017, the County established the Innovative Housing Initiative to increase the regional supply of affordable housing.
The Initiative, launched with $25 million of County funding, was structured to address housing needs by making a pot of money available to developers so that they build and/or rehabilitate housing for low-income households and vulnerable populations.
To date, the initiative’s initial funding has resulted in 453 permanent affordable housing units currently underway with allocations totaling almost $12 million. The total development cost of these projects is over $177 million.
The remaining $13 million of the Innovative Housing Trust Fund has received tremendous interest. The notification for recommended funding for viable projects is planned to take place this summer.
This proposal will have a positive impact on the business community since funded projects will involve construction work to be performed at various sites throughout the county. Contracts resulting from these recommendations will be executed with nonprofit and private sector firms and will involve a competitive bid process.
The units from the ongoing and future housing developments will go to:
- Homeless families
- Families in need
- Homeless veterans and with special needs
- Seniors and older adults with extremely low incomes
- People with developmental disabilities
- People with mental illness or a history of substance abuse
- Domestic violence survivors
“California is an expensive place in which to live,” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “From South County to East County to North County, families are finding it harder to keep up with rising rents or finding homes that they can afford.”
County to Apply For $1.4 Million From State to Address Homelessness
The Board also voted to allow the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) to apply for state emergency funds to address homelessness in the region.
The California 2018-19 State Budget includes $82 million for the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program, which provides grants to local communities to develop programs that assist people who are homeless or at risk of not having a stable place to live.
The second and final round of funding will bring HHSA more than $1.4 million. The money can be used for rental assistance, housing relocation and stabilization services or homeless prevention. The funds can also be used for subsidies for new and existing affordable permanent housing units for people and/or families who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.
Over the past few years, the County has made significant investments in outreach, treatment, and housing services to people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness. Aside from the Innovative Housing Initiative, efforts include identifying excess County properties to build affordable housing, and development of the Whole Person Wellness, Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, Project One For All and Stepping Up programs to assist people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness to obtain and sustain housing.
These actions align with the County’s Live Well San Diego vision which aims to ensure that vulnerable populations have assistance and support to access services that meet their needs.