Affordable housing development High Place East was just recently completed. (Daniel Archuleta)

Affordable housing development High Place East was just recently completed. (Daniel Archuleta)

CITY HALL — Redevelopment agency or no redevelopment agency, Santa Monica managed to add 246 affordable multi-family residences in fiscal year 2012-13.

It was the second most in the city’s recorded history (which dates back to 1994) adding two units fewer than in fiscal year 2008-09, according to a report released by City Hall this week.

Still, these units were largely financed prior to the dissolution of the redevelopment agency  — which was canned to plug a statewide budget gap and which contributed significantly to affordable housing in the city — and without it City Hall expects a significant drop in new affordable apartments.

Proposition R, which was adopted by residents back in 1990, required that 30 percent of all multi-family units created in 2012-13 be affordable. The city far exceeded that percentage, with 51 percent of those types of new units being affordable.

Since 1994, more than a third of all units built in Santa Monica were affordable.

Prop R also required that 15 percent of the new units be made available to residents with low or very low incomes. The target was far exceeded, with 31 percent of new units being made available to those groups.

Another five developers opted to give cash to the City Housing Trust Fund rather than build affordable housing. The $442,246 collected in 2012-13 will go toward building new affordable units.

By the end of the fiscal year, there were 874 residences under construction with 324 (37 percent) slated to be affordable.

City Hall approved another 510 residences for construction during 2012-13, with 99 (19 percent) slated to be affordable.

Many of the new units were built by nonprofits. Given these organizations’ reliance on RDA money, the future of affordable housing looks bleak at the moment.

“Historically, the funding for subsidizing nonprofit developments came from the Housing Trust Fund that was created in part by the Redevelopment Program,” city officials said in the report. “With the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency in February 2012, and the subsequent loss of funding for the Housing Trust Fund, staff anticipates significantly fewer affordable apartments being built in the future. This may make it more difficult to meet the requirements of Proposition R.”

City Hall has suggested adding a measure to this year’s ballot that would ask voters to approve a tax on real estate transfers to allow for the funding of affordable housing.

 

dave@smdp.com

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