While City Hall has been calling upon many recent development agreements (DA) to include provisions for affordable housing units, the Santa Monica City Council moved forward with its plans to transfer various affordable housing duties to the Housing Authority.
Accordingly, all “compliance monitoring, inspections, waiting list management, enrollment, reporting, and related activities” are now off the hands of city officials. Though voted upon as part of the consent calendar at the council’s Jan. 24 meeting, the decision coincides with the official end of the redevelopment agency (RDA) on Feb. 1.
The city’s RDA funded a vast majority of funding for Santa Monica’s affordable housing compliance.
“For several decades, the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency have conducted an aggressive affordable housing program that has resulted in the production and preservation of over 2,900 apartments that are affordable to very low, low, and moderate-income families,” a staff report to council members stated. “The primary funding source for Santa Monica’s affordable housing programs has been redevelopment tax-increment funds.”
With the elimination of the RDA, the city staff and council reasoned it was in the best interest of local affordable housing programs to transfer its oversight to the Housing Authority.
Specifically, City Hall said the local affordable housing programs, including the Senior Homeless Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, would not be able to continue had City Hall, in light of the elimination of RDA, maintained oversight and responsibility.
“It is critical that affordable housing production and preservation activities, as well as housing assistance programs, continue in Santa Monica,” the same staff report stated. “The proposed agreement … would assign responsibility and funding for affordable housing monitoring, affordable housing production, and the senior homeless assistance program to the Housing Authority to help ensure the continuation of such activities.”
Under the Senior Homelessness Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, about 82 “very low-income, formerly homeless seniors” currently receive monthly rental assistance.
City Hall also states the transfer of responsibility to the Housing Authority will allow Santa Monica “to implement affordable housing production and preservation activities, including new housing for seniors, families, and people with special needs, as well as the acquisition, rehabilitation, and deed restriction of 1,219 existing apartments for low and moderate-income households.”