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Coalition Of Housing Affordability Interests Launches ‘Housing You Matters’


A broad coalition of San Diego builders, employers, environmentalists and community planners, called Housing You Matters, aims to solve the region’s housing affordability problem. Calling 2017 the year of reckoning, San Diego County Building Industry Association president/CEO Borre Winckel said the median home price topped $500k in October for the first time since 2005, when home prices peaked. Despite extremely low apartment vacancy and new home inventories, housing production is half what it was before the housing bubble burst 10 years ago.

The organization has 51 members from 39 organizations, ranging from grass-roots groups to big corporations like Qualcomm, and has raised tens of thousands of dollars to hire staff to plan and carry out its agenda for 2017, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Housing You Matters plans to serve as an advocate for changing policy to promote creation of sustainable housing at all income levels in cities throughout the San Diego region, not champion specific projects.

The $200M, 426-unit Park & Market project (above) is adjacent to the Trolley Station on Park Boulevard in East Village and includes 85 affordable housing units. This is the type of dense, transit-oriented project Housing You Matters believes is the answer to San Diego's housing affordability problem.

Former executive director of the local ULI chapter Mary Lydon has been hired as consultant to coordinate projects, public events and outreach efforts for the organization. She said Housing You Matters grew out of a report by Point Loma Nazarene University economist Lynn Reaser that estimates 40% of new housing costs are due to regulation and fees. The study suggested a slight reduction in housing regulations would increase annual housing production by two-thirds.

Initiatives planned for the coming year will include educational programs, including:

• Design workshops organized by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to sketch what San Diego neighborhoods with more housing might look like in 2050.

• An innovative housing concepts event presented by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

• Housing regulation, production and finance best practices compiled by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center and presented by the local ULI chapter.

• A workshop by the coalition to analyze the impediments to housing production regionally and how to overcome them. [SDUT