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Making It In San Diego: What Mayor Kevin Faulconer is doing to create more affordable housing

Making It In San Diego: What Mayor Kevin Faulconer is doing to create more affordable housing
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 14:19:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego is home to some impressive pieces of property, but for many people those places are pure fantasy. The reality is that many San Diegans can't even find a place to rent, let alone buy.

At least 70 percent of San Diegans can't afford to buy a house at the county's median home cost of $610,000. 

In an interview with 10News, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said housing is also one of the most complex and challenging issues to tackle, especially when it comes to the middle class.

"That missing middle has really been, not only here in San Diego, but up and down the state of California what has been so desperately needed," said Faulconer.

What's Being Done

During the interview, Mayor Faulconer pointed to his Housing SD Plan, saying all aspects of it are designed to streamline the building process and speed up development by at least several months.

Exactly how much time is saved depends on the project, "So we have clear rules of the road, we follow those rules of the road but we get people through the process in a defined amount of time cause time is money. Particularly when we're trying to build units that San Diegans can afford," said Faulconer.

The mayor believes a big part of addressing the housing shortage is updating our community plans, which among other things, help pinpoint what can be built where.

"Some of these plans haven't been updated in over thirty years, so again to say here's where we want growth and density and more importantly where we don't," Faulconer said.

Programs Already In Place

When it comes to increasing supply, Faulconer said the key is more efficiently utilizing existing space, rather than looking outward.

In March, the city council approved the Affordable Housing Density Bonus program which gives incentives to developers to increase the number of smaller, affordable units.

And recently, a highly anticipated move to slash fees on granny flats was given the green light.

"That's some of the fastest housing options we can bring for renters, for families, for seniors to the market. Again, making specific changes that are targeted to actually getting units that San Diegans can afford and they can move into a lot quicker, " said Faulconer.

The Impact of Rent Control

While that might make a dent in the problem, many are still wondering if rent control could be another solution.

But the Mayor said, "We talk about rent control, that will have the opportunity to decrease the supply of new units. What we need is more units to be built, more units at all income levels."

The mayor said he understands San Diegans are struggling and assures worried residents he's committed to helping more people find an affordable place to live, "As we're trying to grow our economy and good quality jobs in so many sectors... we have to make sure that the housing supply keeps up with that, cause if it doesn't then housing is out of reach for too many San Diegans."

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