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Mayor Faulconer Joins Push for More State Funding for Affordable Housing

Mayor Endorses Senate Bill 5, Would Create a Key Funding Source for Affordable Housing in Cities Across the State

Friday, August 23, 2019 - NEWS RELEASE


San Diego – Following unanimous City Council approval of several of the Mayor's "Housing SD" reforms this summer to make living in San Diego more affordable, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today joined state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, to endorse the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program, also known as Senate Bill 5, ahead of a key vote by a state Assembly committee.

“California is facing a housing crisis that will price out an entire generation if we don’t take bold action,” said Mayor Faulconer. “San Diego is radically overhauling its housing regulations, so more San Diegans can afford to live here, and Senate Bill 5 takes things to the next level by creating a state funding source that cities can tap to help build affordable homes.”

The new bill would commit $200 million annually to local governments starting in 2020, resulting in tens of thousands of new affordable housing units being built statewide. The annual funding would steadily increase with a cap at $2 billion once fully implemented.

“When the state acts in partnership with cities and counties, we accomplish great things,” said Senator Beall. “SB 5 creates a viable solution to address the growing affordable housing and homeless crisis. I’m grateful for Mayor Faulconer’s support for SB 5 that makes the state a long-term funding partner for affordable housing in San Diego once again.”

“All across our state, from the rural cities of Northern California to the bustling boulevards of San Diego, every community is facing an affordable housing crisis,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “Hard-working families and seniors are being priced out of California and we need 1.5 million affordable units through 2025 to keep up with demand. SB 5 is a critical step to help Californians thrive in the communities they call home by providing permanent affordable housing funding in every corner of the Golden State.”

“Every city, and every California resident, is impacted by the state’s growing housing shortage and homeless crisis,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director, League of California Cities. “In communities throughout the state, cities simply do not have enough affordable housing available for their residents. In order to ensure that we do, we need long term, sustainable funding to invest in building housing for those that need it most. Cities are proud to support SB 5. It creates a much-needed partnership between the state and local governments, and will build more affordable housing now for hard working Californians.”

“The only solution to homelessness is a home – and the best time to start addressing the crisis is now. SB-5 will give a jump start to our broader efforts to end homelessness as we know it on the streets of San Diego,” said Stephen Russell, Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation.

In 2011, the state abolished redevelopment agencies eliminating a major source of funding available for local governments to invest in affordable housing. While S.B. 5 doesn’t revive redevelopment, the bill outlines provisions that will allow cities and counties access to funding to support the development of housing and infrastructure.

S.B. 5 permits cities like San Diego and counties the opportunity to utilize property tax revenues to advance state-approved priority projects. These projects must include infrastructure investments that support affordable housing; promote urban infill development near major transit centers; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The need for rapid construction to address the affordability crisis is clear. If enacted, S.B. 5 would immediately create an ongoing, sustainable source of funding for affordable housing projects, creating a long-term funding partnership between the state and California’s cities.

The bill was previously introduced by Senators Beall, Mike McGuire and Anthony Portantino, and passed with bipartisan support in the Senate. S.B. 5 is scheduled to be heard Aug. 30 by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Under Mayor Faulconer’s leadership, the City of San Diego has taken aggressive action to address the statewide housing crisis. This year he’s won City Council approval for the following “Housing SD” reforms:

  • Parking Reform: Eliminated outdated parking requirements for new housing developments in transit priority areas, reducing development costs while encouraging usage of alternative forms of transportation.
  • Over-the-Counter Permits and No Fees for Low-Income and Homeless Housing: Permits Permanent Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing Facilities by-right in zones that allow multi-family housing, subject to requirements. Waives impact fees.
  • Housing in Commercial Zones: Flexibility to allow interim ground floor residential or office where commercial retail is typically required through a Neighborhood Use Permit.
  • Mixed-Use Zoning: Created six new land-use zones that allow projects to include a mix of residential and employment uses. The goal is to provide flexibility for builders to meet market demands and locate more housing near jobs.
  • Housing for the “Missing Middle”: Establishes incentives for the first time to build housing affordable to San Diego’s middle class, which is in short supply. The reform follows up on the successful Affordable Housing Density Bonus program approved in 2016 and now the two programs can be coupled together. Once a project maximizes to the existing affordable housing density bonus of 50%, it can then use the new moderate-income program to obtain an additional 25% density bonus as long as 10% of pre-density units are deed-restricted at 120% area median income or lower.
  • More Housing Near Transit and Jobs: Updated the Morena/Balboa Specific Plans to increase housing capacity by over 9,000 units near a planned $2 billion trolley extension. This aligns with citywide goals to focus new growth near transit.