One-Fourth of San Diego Developer Fees to Bankroll Affordable Housing Went to Other Causes

Over the past 15 years, San Diego developers have paid $120 million in developer fees to support a policy to alleviate a shortage of low-income housing. The city put that money toward more than two dozen housing projects, subsidizing more than 2,000 units, and another 775 homes are in the works.

But fees collected from developers have not all gone to what the city told those developers. The city’s “inclusionary policy” requires developers to either reserve 10 percent of units for low-income renters or pay a fee. A Voice of San Diego analysis found nearly a quarter of the approximately $85 million in “inclusionary funds” doled out by city leaders have supported programs to aid first-time homebuyers and cover administrative costs at the San Diego Housing Commission instead of being used to develop affordable housing.

Former San Diego State planning professor Nico Calavita, who advocated for the 2003 inclusionary policy, said he never considered that the funds could be diverted to support something other than housing projects.

“There was no discussion about how the money would be spent because the assumption was the money would be spent on building affordable housing, period,” Calavita said. (Source: Voice of San Diego, October 2.)

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