Councilmembers Garcia and DeLong move to examine local preference in affordable housing developments
2009-09-29 · By Editor
Councilmembers Robert Garcia and Gary DeLong are cosponsoring a motion for the October 6 agenda which directs Long Beach city staff to examine the possibility of strengthening the local residential and workforce preference for new affordable housing units built with some share of city money.
The item is a response to concerns in the community that only 60% of new affordable units are going to Long Beach residents or workers.
“Our first responsibility has to be to our residents and workforce,” said Councilmember Garcia. “We cannot afford to take care of other cities’ needs until we first address our own considerable challenges in this area.”
CouncilmemberDeLong added, “I look forward to creating a local preference that assists Long Beach citizens in becoming homeowners.”
State law requires 20% of redevelopment tax increment revenue go towards affordable housing. Currently, the City of Long Beach spends approximately 15-20 million dollars each year to comply with this requirement, including financial support for new developments with a significant affordable housing element.
In an effort to support local residents and workforce, outreach is focused locally as the application process for affordable units begins. The result is that 60% of affordable units go to local residents or workers.
Garcia and DeLong would like to see that percentage increase, but are proceeding carefully.
“Projects almost always combine local, state, and federal monies,” Garcia noted, “so we have to study this issue carefully and ensure we create a local preference that is sustainable in the long term.”
Garcia pointed out that no changes to the current system would be implemented at the October 6 meeting.
“We’re simply setting the process in motion,” he said. “We want to move quickly, but cautiously.”