Conference held in San Diego to address affordable housing crisis

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Local housing experts met Wednesday at a conference to discuss all things affordable housing in San Diego.

Hosted by the San Diego Housing Federation, the 27th annual Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference kicked off at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

The two-day "Housing at the Breaking Point" event began with a series of educational forums focused on how affordable housing works.

"To build affordable housing frequently takes a mix of public and private partnership. It takes federal dollars, it takes state dollars, and that can be a complicated process," said Kwofi Reed, who works for a nonprofit bank that finances affordable housing projects.

Reed, one of several speakers at the conference, said the goal is to build a pipeline of professionals and civic leaders who understand how the industry works -- from financing to building options like mixed-used developments, tiny homes or even shipping-container homes.

San Diego developer Justin Ruthenbeck, owner of Vista 9 Properties, said he sees directly how desperate people are for affordable housing and he wanted to learn how to do his part.

"I know the financiers, the other developers, the other people who have done this successfully are here. And so my main goal in being here is to try and see how they've done it and then see if I can replicate that as well," said Ruthenbeck.

About 100 people from government and private sector development took part in the educational sessions offered Wednesday.

On Thursday, the conference will ramp up to 500 attendees, with keynote speakers and more of a rallying cry for affordable housing.
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