I’m curious, do people know what Mayor Himmelrich means when she says she only supports affordable housing?
“Affordable housing” is more accurately described as income-restricted rental housing. It’s vitally important and we should build as much as we can but it’s not available to everyone. To qualify, you cannot earn more than the income limits.
For a family of four in Santa Monica, the upper most income limit in newly constructed “affordable housing” is $92,750 per year. That’s $46,375 per working parent. If you make more, you’re out of luck – affordable housing is not available to you.
This excludes *a lot* of people. Many of our most essential workers do not qualify. Our nurses, teachers, firefighters, etc. all earn more than $46,375 per year. Their only option is market rate housing, which Mayor Himmelrich does not support.
That’s a big problem. We should want these community members to live in Santa Monica with us. But by saying you don’t support more market rate housing, what you’re in effect saying is that you don’t support housing for them. Our nurses, our teachers, our firefighters – according to Mayor Himmelrich, they don’t deserve housing here.
I find this all to be very hypocritical. Mayor Himmelrich lives in market rate housing! In one of the most expensive and exclusive zip codes in the United States. I guess this means that market rate housing is good when it satisfies her needs, but bad when it satisfies the needs of someone else.
So, what ends up happening is that many of our nurses, our teachers, our firefighters, and others end up living elsewhere and commute in through horrific traffic every day. This clogs our roads, pollutes our air, and directly harms the quality of life for those we say are so important to our city.
I think housing is a civil right. And like other civil rights, you either support it for everyone or you don’t really support it all. We don’t get to pick and choose who gets access to the ballot box. Similarly, Mayor Himmelrich shouldn’t get to pick and choose who gets access to housing.
Matthew Stevens, Santa Monica