Four Steps to More Affordable Housing in San Diego (and Elsewhere)

San Diego is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and has the fourth highest homeless population. Planning activist Murtaza Baxamusa identifies four needed measures.

1 minute read

January 31, 2018, 1:00 PM PST

By wadams92101

Uptown San Diego

Brett VA / Flickr

One of the strongest tools to make housing more affordable in California is inclusionary housing policies and ordinances. Inclusionary housing laws require developments, as a condition of permitting, to contain a certain quantity of affordable units.  HUD, state, and local regulations define "affordable." Explains planning activist Murtaza Baxamusa: 

Since inclusionary zoning programs do not require direct subsidy dollars to create affordable homes and rentals, they are a market-based solution for affordable housing, according to Fannie Mae [pdf]. Inclusionary zoning ordinances are most effective in strong markets with optimum development incentives, and they are able to produce affordable housing that would not otherwise be built, according to the Urban Land Institute. Over 170 thousand affordable apartments and homes have been created through inclusionary programs nationally, according to an estimate by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy [pdf].

Inclusionary housing ordinances, and particularly the principle behind them, have been upheld by the California Supreme Court. Additionally, a recent state law makes rental housing subject to inclusionary housing ordinances. However, some cities, like San Diego, have under-performing inclusionary housing ordinances. Baxamusa identifies four fixes to make inclusionary housing ordinances work. Please see the source article for more details.  

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