On Oct 30th, the Sacramento City Council voted to waive certain development fees for regulated affordable housing. The fee waivers will partially close the financing gap for developers with affordable housing projects in their pipelines. Right now, there are Sacramento affordable housing developers with pipeline developments that have site control, some financing commitments, and approved plans. What they are lacking is sufficient local financing subsidies needed to leverage state or federal affordable housing program funds that would get these developments into construction.

The Sacramento Housing Alliance continues to raise the red flag about the critical role of local government funding commitments in getting affordable housing developments off the architects’ drawing tables and into construction. Waiving development fees is a good start and we commend the City for this initiative. Financial capital subsidies, such as those that could be made available if Measure U passes, are also critical. Making government-owned property available at no cost for affordable housing is another contribution that can be used to leverage state and federal funds.

Low income households displaced by rising rents, low income renters seeking affordable home buyer opportunities, and homeless adults and children–they are all in need of permanent solutions to stabilize their lives. The long term permanent solution to the housing crisis for low income households is the development of regulated, subsidized housing dispersed throughout our city and throughout the region. We will not get there without a stable stream of substantial local government contributions. The fee waivers are a good start, but as recognized by the Council, they are only a part of the solution.

We urge local elected officials in other jurisdictions and public agencies to take the City of Sacramento’s lead and waive fees for affordable housing. We ask Mayor Steinberg and the Sacramento City Council to continue to lead by creating new sources of subsidies as soon as possible.

Rachel Iskow,

Interim Executive Director, Sacramento Housing Alliance