Santa Monica Spoke Supports
Affordable Housing Ballot Measures
Vote: Yes on H and HH
Two companion ballot initiatives proposed by Santa Monica City Hall would raise as much as $10 million a year to fund low-cost housing production. These proposed measures comes at a time when Santa Monica is struggling to maintain its commitment to economic diversity in the face of record high rents, and in large part due to rising land values and a regional housing shortage.
Measure H is a ONE-TIME fee that is paid when any residential and commercial real estate over $1 million dollars is sold from one owner to another in the City of Santa Monica. This means that real estate sales under $1 million, such as low and medium priced condos, are exempt from Measure H. Renters pay nothing. Also exempt are changes in ownership when a property is held in a trust. The buyer and seller can negotiate who pays all or a portion of the fee.
- Measure H will generate new local revenue for the City so that its affordable housing stock can be maintained and rehabilitated, and that more affordable housing opportunities for people who live and work in the city can be created. 100% of the money collected through Measure H will stay in Santa Monica. It is our money for our community – Sacramento cannot touch one cent.
- Measure HH specifies that voters want the revenue from Measure H to be spent on affordable housing programs.
In 2012, Santa Monica lost about $15 million a year of permanent funding for low-cost housing when the State of California shut down its 400 redevelopment agencies. The City has been searching for alternatives since. A local, dedicated funding stream would help support local equitable housing built by nonprofits while helping them qualify for state money, like cap-and-trade funds, 20 percent of which is to be set aside to finance low-cost transit oriented housing. While these cap-and-trade funds are expected make available about $100 million statewide for affordable housing (in the future that number expected to increase to about $500 million) – it is a fraction of the more than $1 billion in Redevelopment Agency money that was available before 2012.
We support the measures that City Council’s voted 5-to-1 to put on the ballot. Measure H would increase the fee paid to the City when a property worth over $1 million changes hands from $3 to $9 for every $1,000 of the property’s sale price, while the companion measure HH would dedicate that funding stream to affordable housing. Approving these measures will help nonprofit housing developers like Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM) and Step Up on Second to not only build but maintain permanent affordable housing units in our city .
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“One of the things that makes Santa Monica so spectacular is… our economic and social diversity in this town and affordable housing is the only way to preserve it,” said Councilmember Gleam Davis.
Davis also pointed out that affordable housing stock helps take cars off the road if people who work in Santa Monica can also afford to live nearby, rather than commute long distance. She also pointed out that having low-cost housing available benefits young people who may be working their way through school or just starting a career.
Councilmember Ted Winterer agreed with Davis, saying that shoring up the affordable housing funding “is the most critical thing we can do this fall.”
Staff pointed out that without a new revenue stream, the City’s budget for funding affordable housing production would drop to about $300,000 a year and would require decades before the City could pool enough to finance even one project. That is not enough, according to officials, considering the rate at which market rents are rising and the impact of the Costa-Hawkins vacancy decontrol law on rent controlled units.