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Affordable Housing Building Program On Track To Bring More Units To San Diego

The City of San Diego's new affordable housing program is already poised to bring more affordable units to the city than under the California Density Bonus law alone, providing much-needed relief in the affordable housing crisis, according to a new report.


The Affordable Housing Building Program streamlines certain parts of the process and adds development capacity for developers who set more units aside for affordable housing on new projects. Under the AHBP, new applications are up, according to the report from Circulate San Diego.

The takeaway: If all the current applications for the AHBP are built and applications continue at the current pace, the AHBP will outproduce in three years what was built in 12 years under the Density Bonus Program.

In the eight months since city council approved the AHBP:

  • 18 market-rate developers have submitted applications under the program, compared with 26 under the state program between 2005 and 2016.
  • Projects applying for AHBP have an average 14% of their base density units as affordable.
  • AHBP applicants will produce 229 market-rate units above base density, compared with 669 from the years with just the state density bonus program.
  • There are 997 total units planned using the AHBP, compared to 3,959 from the Density Bonus Program.

Circulate San Diego, a regional nonprofit organization, was one of the stakeholders behind the AHBP. Other stakeholders include the San Diego Housing Commission, the San Diego Housing Federation and the Building Industry Association.

“We were able to develop and pass one of the most aggressive density bonus programs in the state because of high impact collaboration which, as this report shows, is making a meaningful difference in addressing housing affordability in the city,” City of San Diego Planning Director Jeff Murphy said. “It is because of this success that we are working with these stakeholders to further improve this valuable tool.”