Measure H and HH would have generated funds for permanent low-cost housing like these apartments near the future Expo light rail station at 26th and Olympic.
Measures H and HH would have generated funds for permanent low-cost housing like these apartments near the future Expo light rail station at 26th and Olympic.

Santa Monica, like the rest of the region, is experiencing a historic housing crisis that is driving up prices and forcing working and middle-class families out of town. While Santa Monica requires about 30 percent of all new housing built to be permanently subsidized, there simply isn’t enough being built at all levels of affordability.

With that in mind, Santa Monica’s Housing Commission, the appointed body that advises the City Council on issues related to housing, will hold its annual retreat on February 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to “discuss how to enhance the public support, and knowledge, of the city’s affordable housing programs, the variety of affordable opportunities, different types of housing and the range of affordability levels.” The public is encouraged to attend.

Housing Commission Chair Richard Hilton said, “Affordable housing, both rental and homeownership, mitigates local traffic, contributes to the diversity in our community and schools, and is a necessary complement to our market-rate housing.”

Housing Commissioner Carter Rubin agreed, citing the loss of the $15 million a year the city got for affordable housing from its now-defunct redevelopment agency (RDA) and the loss of Measure H, which would have generated up to $10 million a year for nonprofit affordable housing.

“With the end of redevelopment and the failure of Measure H, we no longer have the funding needed to continue to build publicly-funded affordable housing at the rate Santa Monicans expect,” said Rubin, who is also a member of the Santa Monica Next advisory board. “So it’s up to us as Housing Commissioners to lead in recommending solutions for how we maintain Santa Monica as diverse, inclusive community.”

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Rubin said, “Our retreat on Saturday will help us focus our agenda for 2015 on that effort and set goals and benchmarks to keep us on track.”

Saturday’s retreat will be held in the Multipurpose Room on the second floor of the Main Branch library in Downtown Santa Monica (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) and will be facilitated by Maura J. Harrington, VP/Chief operating officer at the Center for Nonprofit Management.

For more information, contact the City of Santa Monica Housing Division at (310) 458-8702 or visit www.smgov.net/housing.