Santa Monica Truly Affordable Housing Trickle? Nix. Not This Way.

affordable housing complex with flared roof features
41 Unit affordable housing project located in Santa Monica, California photo by CalderOliver/Lawrence Scarpa is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Santa Monica has decided to place a moratorium on deeply affordable housing projects like this one.

What do you call a council decision to actually ban the inclusion of truly affordable housing in the city’s approved housing projects? (By truly affordable, we mean housing within reach of those with the lowest incomes). Is it reprehensible? Callous? Evil? Just plain wrong?

Or should we be welcoming it as a step in the right direction, a step that one day soon might bring meaningful quantities of desperately-needed housing to the municipality?

The problem: developers opting to include the most affordable housing in their projects were also opting for the least amount of ‘affordable’ housing to be built. This has amounted to a form of tokenism that allowed the city to say, “see, we’re building truly affordable housing!”

True, that may give citizens and and councillors a warm fuzzy glow and allow them to sleep better at night. But as Santa Monica has discovered, it does virtually nothing to solve the affordable housing crisis.

The result: a city council ‘time out’ while they explore other, more effective options for creating meaningful amounts of affordable housing. Read more in the Santa Monica Daily Press: Council Passes Temporary Ban On New Extremely Low Income Housing