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Report: City’s Housing Program Working To Build More Affordable Housing

Construction crews work on a 24-unit apartment building in North Park, July 2...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: Construction crews work on a 24-unit apartment building in North Park, July 23, 2019.

Mobility and safe neighborhood advocacy nonprofit Circulate San Diego released a report Tuesday detailing the growth of the city's Affordable Homes Bonus Program — designed to produce more affordable and market-rate housing — and encouraging the state and other local governments to take notice.

"Our report — "Good Bargain" — shows that San Diego's policy is really working to build more affordable and market-rate homes, said Colin Parent, executive director and general counsel of Circulate San Diego and a co-author of the report. "State and local governments should look to expand this model to help more people afford to live in California."

San Diego's Affordable Homes Bonus Program provides incentives for developers who choose to build affordable units as a part of their projects. If up to 15% of a project's base density is set aside as affordable, then the developer can build up to 50% more units than otherwise would be allowed.

The analysis of 20 months of program data compiled by Circulate San Diego shows that beginning in 2016, the program has seen triple-digit increases in applicants and affordable home production over the previous program.

"We are seeing enormous results over time directly correlating with the changed made to San Diego's housing regulations," said Elyse Lowe, director of Development Services for San Diego. "We are a pro-housing city that encourages new growth in our existing communities to provide more affordable housing opportunities for people of all income classes."

In February, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, introduced legislation to extend San Diego's Affordable Homes Bonus Program to the rest of California. The bill's first hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Sacramento.

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