The recentcolumn by Santa Monica Forward doesn’t quite state the whole truth about affordable housing.
The columnsays that along with Community Corp. of Santa Monica, the other providers of affordable housing are private developers who are required to set aside a percentage of their units as affordable housing.
These developers are incentivized by development agreements that allow more housing than LUCE calls for. They provide some affordable units and are given permission to build more units than the LUCE plan allows. They are allowed to build small units that rent for big money. Some of these developers even have big money commercial rentals on the ground floor.
The city recently allowed a developer, over the objections of the neighbors, to build 10 units instead of four units on the property at Lincoln and Ashland in return for the developer providing one affordable unit. That’s 10%.
The columnfails to mention the affordable housing provided by the mom-and-pop small apartment owners.
I’m a 76-year-old with a four-unit property. They are two-bedroom apartments with private garages for each apartment.
My wife and I live in one of the four units. We have one market-rate unit and the other two units have extremely low rents — one at $585 and one at $902. The $902 renter is older than I am and we are glad to provide affordable housing for him.
The $585 tenant is a relative of the former owner andwas given a sweetheart rent. He has never lived anywhere else. He has a solid government job and is able to walk to work.
We received a $2-per-month rent raise on one of those units and a $4-per-month rent raise on the other low-rent unit.
We struggle to live in Santa Monica, where our doctors are, but we can’t continue like this.
We began to live here in the ’70s and remember well the rhetoric of SMRR. Stop the rent-gouging, they cried, and the electorate heard them.
We bought our property in 2012 because we couldn’t qualify for affordable housing. My wife and I each have Social Security and a union pension, which adds up to too much income to get affordable housing. Our income is less than the average salary of an employee of the Rent Control Board.
We are victims of discrimination and de facto elder abuse, but since this reverse rent-gouging is in the name of affordable housing it is allowed in Santa Monica.