by Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

San Diego County elected officials and the San Diego foundation said they want to identify government-owned land to build 10,000 affordable homes over the next three or four years for the public good. 

​​Chair Nathan Fletcher, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, and The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) announced they want to work with the 18 incorporated cities and other government agencies to create a Government Land Action Strategy. TSDF pledged $10 million to kick off the project and plans to pursue raising another $90 million to support the initiative. 

“The Government Land Action Strategy will be a catalyst for more housing region-wide that families can afford,” said Chair Fletcher. “Housing costs are out of reach for most, including hard-working, middle-income families. We want to create a package of properties that can be marketed to affordable housing developers, so we can have more housing built, and more built faster.”

Chair Fletcher and Supervisor Lawson-Remer will present their policy on June 14 to formalize the partnership with TSDF. If approved, the policy will commit to working with the county to meet its goal, ensure “programmatic and strategic alignment with existing regional equitable housing efforts” and support TSDF’s creation of a Housing Impact Fund. 

The policy will also support other strategies, using the $100 million TSDF is working to raise, to recommend financing opportunities to unlock government-owned parcels for affordable housing. 

Supervisor Lawson-Remer has worked on equitable housing efforts, including Senate Bill 1105. She said the partnership aims to “…to use public land for the public good, and right now the greatest public good is to build homes that the public can afford”.

“This partnership with The San Diego Foundation will help us convene the region’s cities and public agencies to identify all vacant government land where homes can be built quickly. If we solve the problem of where to build, we can tackle our housing crisis with greater speed and at a lower cost,” Lawson-Remer said. 

Chair Fletcher’s office said, “the San Diego Foundation is a trusted leader in leveraging real estate assets to benefit our community because of its affiliation with the San Diego Charitable Real Estate Foundation (CREF).” 

Last year, TSDF launched the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program in August 2021 in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. The initiative is supported by Chair Fletcher’s Office to provide down payments and/or closing cost assistance for eligible Black first-time homebuyers.

To date, 20 homeowners and their families have received assistance through the program, according to TSDF. 

San Diego became the least affordable metro area in the State in early 2022. According to TSDF, production is still lagging behind demand, although the county is building more new homes in the past year than in the prior three years. 

SANDAG reports that the region has a current shortfall of 90,000 homes and needs to build another 90,000 homes by the end of the decade just to keep pace with population and job growth. 

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