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San Diego County Considering Ways To Build Cheaper Housing For The Homeless

San Diego County Considering Ways To Build Cheaper Housing For The Homeless
Homeless residents are a common sight on San Diego streets, particularly in downtown's East Village.

San Diego County supervisors next week will consider three ideas for creating a cost-effective way to build housing for the homeless, one of which is to create a $25M investment pool to fund affordable housing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

New subsidized housing units currently cost $400K/unit, but county supervisors are seeking ways to lower the cost to $100K/unit, which would enable the county to build 1,000 units with $25M in seed money from county reserves.

The cost of land is a major stumbling block to building cheaper affordable housing. Supervisors are evaluating 11 county-owned sites that could be used for homeless housing projects to lower construction costs.

Percil Stanford, president of San Diego Kind Corp., which built a senior project and rehabilitated two single-occupancy hotels in downtown, said cost per unit could be cut to $100K by using cost-saving materials or incorporating prefabricated elements to produce safe, durable and hazard-free homes. He said a prototype could be developed within a year.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts, a retired architect, suggested Stanford’s company be given $100K to plan an innovative housing project at the county’s 4.6-acre Levant Service Center site in Linda Vista. He favors building tightly designed cottages with minimum floor space clustered around a senior community facility.

The biggest challenge to housing San Diego's homeless is the growing homeless population. A recent headcount showed the homeless population has risen to more than 9,100 people countywide. San Diego County has the fourth-largest homeless population in the nation.