by Georgina Valencia
There seems to be confusion around the issue of the loss of Affordable Housing. An issue that was brought forward in the submission “Who’s Tending the Shop?” Let me state what I feel the issue is in a succinct form.
1. There is a tremendous loss of affordable housing in Davis. I discovered the reason why when I was doing some research. And I found the Grand Jury report to be very surprising.
2. The Grand Jury Report indicated a “lack of oversight” of the affordable housing program. And this lack of oversight is still happening today and needs to be remedied. I offered solutions at the Social Services Commission meeting and in the previous submission.
3. It is a fact that Home ownership is the most direct means to create generational wealth and equity for all people and specifically for people of color. Knowing this fact I ask what is our city doing to facilitate an increase in diversity and inclusion?
4. Finally, I am surprised by the title of David’s Monday Morning Opening thoughts…”Davis Needs to Increase Affordable Housing For Sure – But They Have Corrected This Problem For the Most Part” For the most part? That statement seems to say it all and it is a statement that lacks conviction of a problem that has (not) been corrected.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and for creating a forum to do so.
Georgina Valencia is a member of the Social Services Commission, a member of the Housing Element Committee for the City of Davis and a Real Estate Professional. Ms. Valencia can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Published below is the Vanguard’s “Opening Thoughts” column, exclusive to the Morning Newsletter (you can subscribe here).
Davis Needs to Increase Affordable Housing For Sure – But They Have Corrected This Problem For the Most Part
When I first started the Vanguard (in 2006), I heard about the scandals involving affordable housing units going to well connected people or their families at below market costs, the owner would then sit on the property for x-amount of time and flip it at market rate for huge profits.
While that was a horrible scandal going back to 2005, the city has largely fixed the problem. While the city has largely in recent years moved away from ownership affordable housing to rental – they starting in 2006, took steps to correct the problem.
The Grand Jury Report in 2017 which examined the city’s affordable housing policies found as much.
They note: “In 2005 the City Council amended the Affordable Housing Ordinance, altering the rules in several ways for access to affordable ownership units. The maximum percentage of family income that could be used to pay for housing costs and utilities was raised from 30% to 35% to help the program compete better in the then booming housing market. Resale equity escalation was limited to a small yearly percentage increase of the unit value. This is currently set at a maximum of 3.75% per year.”
In 2006, the affordable housing ordinance “was further amended to require all owners to sign the deed and occupy the unit for the entire ownership period. The City is continuing to review the affordable program and held a workshop in January 2010 to review all aspects of the program to meet the City Council’s goal for housing.”
The Grand Jury looking at the new policies concluded: “The Grand Jury confirmed that the current affordable housing programs are operating as planned, with income confirmation, open bidding by developers for projects and lotteries of eligible buyers to ensure selection fairness. Tenants/owners informed the Grand Jury that they are satisfied with management of the units and are finding financing at interest rates low enough to keep the units affordable.”
So why is this being presented as an ongoing problem? Not sure. At one point this was indeed a very serious problem but from all indicated while it is true the number of for sale affordables fell from 700 housing units to 90 – I believed almost all of that occurred by 2005.
As people kept hitting this point I kept saying – read the Grand Jury report itself – they never did. When I first learned about the scandal (around 2006 or 2007), I was very concerned that not enough was done to hold those accountable for this gift of public resources, but to state this is an ongoing and continuing problem, I think is false.
Additional comment: If Georgina Valencia believes there is an ongoing problem with a loss of affordable units in the city, then we should look into this matter further.
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