Little to Show in Affordable Housing After 5 Years of Collecting Developer Fees Under Atkins’ SB2

by on August 11, 2022 · 1 comment

in San Diego

Since 2017, California has collected more than $1.6 billion in real estate fees to fund affordable housing after Sen. Toni Atkins ushered SB 2 through the Legislature. Less than a quarter has been disbursed and San Diego’s cost of living has soared.

by Catherine Allen / Voice of San Diego / August 10, 2022

In 2017, the state passed SB 2, a law its sponsors said would alleviate the cost of shelter in California by providing an ongoing source of affordable housing funds in an industry that mostly relies on single-use money.

Since then, the state has collected more than $1.6 billion in fees levied on real estate transactions. Yet by the end of 2021, the state had spent less than a quarter of that total on housing and homelessness.

Five years ago, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins said she authored SB 2, or the Build Homes and Jobs Act, to “provide desperately needed funding for permanent housing with supportive services.” With it, the state collected revenue from fees imposed on certain real estate transactions, such as mortgage refinances.

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Mat Wahlstrom August 11, 2022 at 3:01 pm

As Bruce Willis says in ‘Die Hard,’ “Welcome to the party, pal!”

Rather than going toward building actual affordable housing projects, this proves most of what little SB2 money is being spent goes instead for upzoning — which kneecaps the ability to build affordable housing by inflating already exorbitant land values.

And it’s not even upzoning based on need: the terms for the “LEAP grants” to get this money are to meet the arbitrary numbers plucked from the air before the application is ever submitted — a veritable cart before the horse.

You can read the city’s LEAP Grant application, with the preset numbers that Plan Hillcrest and the ongoing College Area, Mira Mesa, and University community plan updates need to meet here,


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