SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Creating affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing San Diego, but the city's leaders also have their work cut out when it comes to keeping the existing low-income units from going on the open market.
Emily Jacobs of the San Diego Housing Commission says it's especially a challenge for downtown buildings once their deed restrictions expire.
"SRO (single-room occupancy) housing and things like that are ripe for the picking to redevelop into some sort of market use," said Jacobs, a vice president at the commission.
On Tuesday, the City Council, acting as the Housing Authority, approved a $2.75 million loan to the owners of the Island Inn affordable housing complex on Island Avenue. The owners don't have to pay back the money if their keep the 200 units in the building affordable for the next 10 years.
"We had numerous offers from hotel operators," said Shawn Schraeger, one of the Island Inn's owners. "Rather than put 300 plus people out on the street, we thought it would be a good idea and work for everyone to continue the rent restrictions."
Schraeger said the building is prime for a boutique hotel due to its location near the Gaslamp District, Market Street, and the Convention Center. He said his group negotiated for a year to make the 10-year-extension happen.
The units will be income restricted to households at 80 percent area median income. A family of four earning up to $77,850 a year would be eligible.
The San Diego Housing Commission says the city needs 38,000 affordable units by 2020, but only 11 percent have been built.