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San Diego Housing Commission report on affordability wins national award

San Diego Housing Commission logo displayed on a wall inside the Commission's downtown headquarters, Nov. 3, 2017.
Katie Schoolov/KPBS
San Diego Housing Commission logo displayed on a wall inside the Commission's downtown headquarters, Nov. 3, 2017.

A San Diego Housing Commission report analyzing affordable housing in the city and providing strategies to preserve affordability won the national Award of Excellence from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, it was announced Tuesday.

"This report was an essential step toward the City Council's adoption of strategies to preserve affordability for existing housing units throughout the city of San Diego," SDHC President and CEO Richard Gentry said. "I thank the mayor, City Council and San Diego Housing Commission Board for their support of affordable housing preservation and congratulate the housing commission's exceptional staff for this national recognition."

The Awards of Excellence recognize "outstanding innovation and achievement in housing and community development programs throughout the country," according to a NAHRO statement. A total of 18 programs or projects nationwide received the awards this year.

SDHC created a database of deed-restricted affordable rental housing units citywide. It then commissioned a study to analyze the data, identify the city's housing preservation needs, estimate costs for addressing the challenges, and recommend a framework with strategies for policymakers to consider to achieve the necessary objectives.

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To complete this study, the SDHC contracted with HR&A Advisors, a consulting firm with more than 40 years of experience in real estate and economic development, in partnership with The National Housing Trust, which has more than 30 years of experience in affordable housing preservation nationwide. SDHC staff also were instrumental to the completion of the study.

The SDHC published the report, "Preserving Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego," on May 28, 2020. It provided a current housing inventory in the city, including an inventory of naturally occurring affordable housing, cost estimates for preserving housing at risk of losing its affordability and strategies to preserve affordability.

After City Council Land Use and Housing Committee discussions, the council on Oct. 27, 2020, approved seven actions proposed to implement a strategy for affordable housing preservation in the city.

It is likely the last accolade for Gentry as head of the commission, as he steps down from the position Thursday. He offered his resignation in February a week after the City Council created a committee intended to monitor the workings of the SDHC and potentially reform it.

Jeff Davis has been appointed to serve as the interim president and CEO for the SDHC, effective Friday.