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Sanders seeks action on affordable housing

San Diego continues to be one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation, but some new approaches, involving local government and housing advocates, look to address the lack of affordable units.

As part of a news conference hosted by the San Diego Building Industry Association at William Lyon Homes’ Promenade at Spectrum, Mayor Jerry Sanders and representatives from the San Diego Housing Federation, San Diego Association of Realtors, Campaign for California Home Ownership, and the San Diego Organizing Project announced a new housing strategy.

According to a release from Mayor Sanders a housing strategy has been initiated at the city that will utilize the recommendations of an ad hoc committee, who will develop a housing business plan designed to lead to the identification and construction of housing projects at various locations.

The committee will be a group chosen by the building industry and housing advocates. It will consist of three representatives from the building industry, four from housing advocacy groups, members of the mayor’s staff and a representative from the Housing Commission.

“The important thing is that at the end of the process, if successful, the City will have specific projects located on specific pieces of land,” Sanders said in a release, adding the goal of this strategy is to create a repeatable model that can be utilized by all parts of the community to increase housing opportunities.

Sanders announced the city is also restructuring the planning, redevelopment and economic development departments into a single team under a single director, Bill Anderson.

“By integrating these three departments into one we’ll have a stronger link between our vision of San Diego and actually achieving that vision,” Sanders said.

Additionally, the Housing Commission is continuing its efforts to expand homeownership through the creation of two new, first-time homebuyer programs and working to replace depleting federal housing funds, which threaten the Commission’s public housing program and the 1600 households it serves.

The commission is also proposing to make the Affordable Housing Fund, which comes from dollars provided by market-rate housing developers, geographically more flexible in terms of where in the city the funds can be spent, as more dollars will be invested in affordable housing.

“Local government is limited in just how much it can do to influence the housing market and prices, it can still play an important role in securing San Diego’s housing future,” Sanders said. “It is time for action.”

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