Dear Editor,Still Waiting for Affordable Housing in Santa MonicaProposition R was passed by Santa Monica voters in 1990, which required 30% of all new multifamily housing each year be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. According to the annual report from the city’s Director of Housing and Economic Development, Proposition R has met its goal in 2006-2007 with 32% of new multifamily housing being affordable, and in 2004-2005 with 47% affordable. However, in 2005-2006, only 5% of new multifamily housing built was affordable.In reality, most of new apartment development is not affordable to median and low-income renters. This is because developers are able to satisfy the affordable housing requirements by paying an In-Lieu of Fee, providing off-site units in buildings not yet constructed, or by offering “affordable” units in condominiums, which are not affordable to almost anyone. Condos and buildings not yet constructed are still counted in the affordable housing totals for the year. One of the biggest developers in Santa Monica is JSM. JSM’s website lists their many projects in Santa Monica including a link for their new affordable housing projects. Of the 36 new multifamily developments by JMS, 12 are listed as “Low income apartments,” even though three of the buildings have not yet been built. Their property management company for Santa Monica is The Santa Monica Collection. As I am a renter in Santa Monica, and am aware that 30% of new housing stock is supposed to be affordable, I looked into it. First, I called The Santa Monica Collection office to inquire about affordable housing units available in their buildings. I was told they did not offer any affordable housing units. I think we need to reexamine Proposition R, or find a way to allow developers to make a profit on 70% of their new projects while keeping 30% affordable. As it stands now, developers can get out of offering affordable units by paying the In Lieu Fee. The City counts affordable housing units in projects not yet built as a way of justifying Proposition R is working. As a result, we, the citizens of Santa Monica are still waiting for new, affordable housing. Virginia TuraSanta Monica, Ca
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