Updated 2 p.m., May 24
Sacramento County needs 63,00 new apartments and homes to meet the demand of renters, according to a new report by the California Housing Partnership.
The nonprofit, which helps government and housing agencies, says this number is an increase over last year, and that stagnant supply has caused the average rent for a two-bedroom to increase to $1,445, up $95 a month compared to two years ago.
Lynne Herron, pastor at New Creation Church, which is a supporter of the Partnership’s efforts, says some landlords evict tenants who complain about living conditions, then bring in tenants who pay more without complaint.
"Communities that are affected by this unsafe and unaffordable housing are currently plagued by problems of disinvestment, crime, violence, lack of jobs, business closing, high health risks, inequality and, more importantly, a lack of concern and care for the community," Herron said at a news conference outside Sacramento City Hall on Tuesday.
She says more local funding should be made available to match state dollars.
For years, developers in Sacramento have paid into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund in lieu of actually building low-income housing. Mayor Darrell Steinberg says the fund could be bolstered by using Measure U funds as collateral for bonds.
"There are many reasons we don't have enough affordable housing in California and Sacramento. But one of them is we don't have enough resources on the public side to partner with the private sector to fast track desperately-needed affordable housing and that's exactly what we're going to do,” Steinberg said prior to Tuesday’s afternoon council meeting.
But Councilmember Angelique Ashby is leery of the idea.
"I worry about a strategy of bonding against general fund dollars,” she said, “particularly to the tune of $25 million a year over 30 years without a list of proposed projects. That could create solvency issues for the city."
The Partnership says some projects have received all necessary permits, but require a city or county subsidy to begin construction. Mutual Housing California says the Lavender Courtyard project at 16th and F streets would provide 50 units of housing to senior citizens and members of the LGBTQ community, but so far has failed to raise the $2.5 million required for completion.
“The reason this property is needed is we get weekly calls from individuals in the community and emails saying that they’re living in fear, that they’re homeless, that they’re at risk of being homeless,” said Mutual Housing CEO Roberto Jimenez.
The idea of increased funding is part of ongoing budget discussions. A budget vote is expected June 11.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated New Creation Church's relationship to the California Housing Partnership.