Affordable Housing Bond Measure Moves Closer To Reality
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Photo by KPBS
San Diego City Council members Wednesday voted to keep alive a $900 million affordable housing bond proposed for the November ballot, as city leaders run out of other options for dealing with the city's homelessness crisis.
The council's rules committee voted 4-1 to direct the City Attorney's Office to finalize the measure's language and conduct legal analysis. The full council has until August to officially place the measure on the November ballot.
"Homes are the solution to homelessness, we know that," said Stephen Russell, executive director of the nonprofit San Diego Housing Federation, the measure's chief backer. "And the funding in the measure before you is commensurate with the scale of homelessness in San Diego."
The bonds would be paid back with a property tax increase amounting to $19 per year for every $100,000 of a property's assessed value.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not taken a position on the bond measure, opting instead to focus his advocacy on Measure C, which would raise the city's hotel room tax to fund an expansion of the Convention Center as well as affordable housing and homeless services.
But as votes from last week's primary election continue to be tallied, Measure C appears to be falling short of the two-thirds majority it needs to pass. That would leave the city exactly where it is today — billions of dollars short of what's needed to make a dent in homelessness.
"We know that San Diego lags behind almost all major cities in the per capita availability of supportive housing," said City Councilman Chris Ward. "And so this is the kind of measure that actually gets us to correct that inequity and gets us to have the kind of housing we need."
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