For a long time, there has been a need for affordable housing that is not currently met by the housing market. Many lower-class residents can no longer afford to live in the place they work due to the constant production of nothing but luxury housing. Most people are vaguely aware that this is a problem, but few realize just how bad it really is. These concerning statistics about affordable housing throughout the San Diego region highlight a major issue that may become disastrous if not addressed.
2017 census data indicates that there are over 183,200 low-income households, yet San Diego only has 46,600 units that are priced low enough for these households to afford. This means there are still thousands of residents unable to afford a house. The first difficulty for many residents is getting funds for a home through jobs or the section 8 voucher program. According to reports from the San Diego Housing Commission, over 22,000 families are on a ten year wait list for section 8 housing aid. Each month, 500 new applicants are added.
However, the main roadblock to affordable housing is actually not lack of funds. There is currently a $50 million county trust fund for affordable housing, along with several federal and state tax incentives to build this housing. Even when people do get section 8 vouchers, they often find themselves unable to spend it anywhere. Landlords often do not rent to Section 8 tenants, and there are few apartments priced low enough to meet their needs. In 2010, the state of California called for an increase in affordable homes. However, by 2018, only 13 percent of the affordable homes needed have been built because many cities and counties are not permitting the work that needs to be done to build these houses.
The gap between demand and availability continues to grow. A sad example of the lack of affordable housing is the recent Serving Seniors project. This nonprofit created a 62 unit affordable housing project for seniors in Ramona. Even though it was an hour away from San Diego, they ended up with over 3,000 people applying. This means over 2,500 seniors were turned away, left with nowhere to live in their old age.