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New affordable homes in Escondido

 December 8, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, December 8th.

Hundreds of families signed up for a chance at a brand new affordable home in Escondido. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The San Diego County District Attorney yesterday announced no charges will be filed against three former S-D-S-U football players accused of gang-raping a teenage girl last year.

Last October, a teenage girl reported being raped at a house party near the S-D-S-U campus.

She alleged her attackers were members of the Aztec football team.

After nearly 10 months of investigation, the San Police Department turned over the results on August 5th to the D-A’s office for review.

That office released their findings yesterday, saying there was not enough evidence to charge the three men.

A civil suit filed by the now 18-year-old woman, is still ongoing, as well as the university’s Title NINE investigation into the incident.


Millions of Californians have now received the state-wide Middle Class Tax Refund, aimed at off-setting the high price of gas.

It’s a one-time payment for people who are earning under 500-thousand dollars a year, and payments range from a few hundred dollars to around a thousand.

The latest batch of debit cards were sent out this week to recipients with last names A through K, and can take up to 14 days to arrive by mail.


Gas prices in San Diego County are the lowest they’ve been since February.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in San Diego County dropped yesterday to four-dollars-and-71-cents.

The average price has dropped nearly two-dollars over the last two months.

Regular gas prices are now close to what they were around this time last year.

Last December, prices were nearly eight-cents less than now.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


Zillow says the average price for a home in Escondido is $800-thousand dollars.

So it’s not surprising that hundreds of families have signed up for a chance at a home costing less than half that much.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us out of those hundreds… only ten will get a new set of house keys.

San Diego Habitat for Humanity is building ten homes off El Norte Parkway in Escondido. So what we’re seeing here is the horizontal pads, the foundations for what's going to be 10 affordable home ownership homes, they’re going to be duplexes. Kwofi Reed is the president of San Diego Habitat for Humanity. The homes are 3 bedroom 2 and a half bath duplexes. “These homes, as with all of habitat’s products, are going to be priced to be affordable for families that make 80 percent of the area's median income. So for a family of 4, were talking about a family that makes about 92k dollars.” With a price tag of approximately $300-thousand dollars each, there’s huge demand. “We had 270 applicants apply for those ten spots. It's tough, right, because the median price for a home in SD is as we all know 800k or so dollars so for working families trying to make that leap into home ownership it can be really tough.”  Escondido council member Consuelo Martinez says she isn't surprised so many families applied for the chance at affordable housing. “Now these families are living with their parents in multi generational homes waiting to be able to buy something affordable, and they're saving that money but they just can't enter that market yet. So this is really going to provide an amazing opportunity for some families in Escondido.” Martinez says the opportunity comes as she sees gentrification happening and pushing residents out of the city. “Here in Escondido I notice that a lot of the older homes are being purchased by investors, they’re being gutted and remodeled and sold at a really exorbitant price so it's really pricing out a lot of folks. It's something I'm really concerned about, I don't want my residents to be displaced.”  Although 10 affordable homes is a small feat, Martinez says it's a start in the right direction at having more affordable housing in Escondido. A start that Maribel Valle says many families hope for. Valle works as a liaison for families at Mission Middle School, and let them know about the opportunity. “I Immediately started talking to my families and letting them know this is happening, you should apply, because I know the need in this community.” As she was promoting the application, Valle realized she also had a need for an opportunity like this. “When I started looking at the requirements I began to think of myself too. I’m in that situation so I did go through the application process.” She’s currently renting a room and doesn’t have the space for her children. If she is selected, she says it would change everything. “I think that just like anybody in this community that's hoping to make that next step in their life, it would be grand. It would be beautiful to have my children back with me living and its something that I am hoping for.” Habitat for Humanity will be reviewing applications and expects to have the families selected before the end of the year. “For us what that means is we get to pick ten extremely qualified hardworking families that fit all the criteria that you’d like to see. But it breaks our heart that we have to say no to 260 plus otherwise really qualified families who also deserve this dream of homeownership.” Families must be in need of improved housing, willing to participate in the building of the home, and have a stable income in order to qualify. The city of Escondido and the state each contributed $1 million dollars for the project. Reed says it's those partnerships, donors, and volunteers that make their mission possible. “We have costs for our development that aren't as high as market rate, but they're pretty close. The difference for us is were not passing those costs along to our home buyers. We ar e working with partners to help make it affordable so that other people can get the dream of home ownership without having to pay 800-900k dollars.” He says the mortgages won't exceed 30% of the family's gross income. And that affordability allows families to be healthier, kids thrive in school, and can be a resource for the future. TT KPBS News 


COVID-era rental protections are long over in San Diego… but now there’s a proposal for new protections… in an effort to prevent homelessness and displacement.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere has the details.

The proposed framework for the updated tenant protection ordinance would offer further support and resources for both renters and landlords. Mayor Todd Gloria says it would be consistent with state law and, in some areas, go beyond state law to address issues facing the local rental housing market. “This framework, I believe, will help us take the necessary steps to protect renters from wrongful terminations, provide clarity and consistency to our rental housing providers and to prevent people from falling into homelessness.” A draft of the amended ordinance is underway. It’s anticipated to go before the City Council in early 2023. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


Wastewater is an early indicator of when COVID-19 cases are increasing in San Diego.

KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman says the flu is also now being tracked as hospitals deal with surges in both viruses.

Topol our new standard of surveillance is using the waste water for everything Dr. Eric Topol from the Scripps Research translational institute says testing wastewater to track the flu is a good idea.. San Diego County has been using sewage to monitor influenza and it’s trending up. With more than 8-thousand cases reported in November.. It also indicates when COVID cases are rising– Dr. Eric Topol, Scripps Research Translational Institute All the rapid testing at home or the lack of tests leave us with a poor sense of what’s going on but the waste water is telling us it’s shooting up quickly throughout the country Ahead of the holidays health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated for the flu and boosted for COVID, especially those at high risk. MH KPBS News.


Coming up.... Local L-G-B-T-Q activist is honored with a street sign. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


Nicole Murray Ramirez is the honorary Mayor of Hillcrest and a champion of social justice for the Latino and gay community, and just about any other marginalized group he feels needs representation and respect.

He’s also been recognized by the City of San Diego with a portion of Harvey Milk Street in Hillcrest… designated as “Honorary Nicole Murray Ramirez Way.”

Ramirez spoke with KPBS reporter MG Perez about how he first got his start in social justice advocacy.

Here’s their conversation.

That was Nicole Murray Ramirez, speaking with KPBS reporter MG Perez.


Yesterday marked the 81st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

KPBS reporter Melissa Mae went down to the U-S-S Midway Museum for its annual remembrance.

MM: 2,403 U.S. personnel lost their lives during the Pearl Harbor attack 81 years ago. MM: The USS Midway Museum has hosted the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association’s annual commemoration since 2004. Many civilians, military members and veterans attended this year’s event. MM: Including Robert Ling who served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1968. RL “It means a lot because my father was a WWII veteran and I come here to the Midway every December 7th and it just brings back memories. Bad memories, but good memories too.” MM: Sadly, for the second year in a row, there were no Pearl Harbor survivors present. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Hundreds of families signed up for a chance at a brand new affordable home in Escondido, but only 10 of the applicants will get a new set of house keys. In other news, flu and COVID-19 cases are being tracked through wastewater, as hospitals deal with surges in both viruses. Plus, longtime San Diego LGBTQ activist, Nicole Murray Ramirez is honored with a street sign.