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Mayor Gordo Moving Forward With Plans for Housing Task Force

Mayor announced plans for a housing board last November

Published on Monday, February 22, 2021 | 3:17 pm

Mayor Victor Gordo on Monday said he would begin the process of reaching out to councilmembers for suggestions on the formation of a housing task force.

Gordo said the task force would have 15 members.

Gordo made his statement at the council’s meeting Monday, but the item could not be discussed at great length because it was not on the agenda.

Although housing is one of the city’s top issues, there is not a commission or committee dedicated solely to the city’s housing issues.

During a City Council meeting in November, Gordo announced that he would be forming a commission or task force.

“I think we need to be bold as we look to the future of affordable housing, not just in Pasadena, but in the entire region,” Gordo said at that time.

In March, a California Affordable Housing Needs Report, published by the California Housing Partnership, suggested there was a drastic need for more affordable housing in California. Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated that need.

Under state law, all California cities are required to provide capacity for their fair share of existing and future regional housing needs. Every eight years, this fair share assignment is determined through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process, which requires jurisdictions to adopt a Housing Element that shows compliance.

Pasadena’s current RHNA allocation calls for the city to meet a near-impossible quota of 9,409 housing units before 2029, including 2,379 very-low-income units, 1,659 low-income units, 1,562 moderate-income units, and 3,449 above-moderate-income units.

City officials unsuccessfully attempted to appeal those impossible housing goals.

According to the city Department of Planning and Community Development, Pasadena’s current Housing Element runs from 2014 to 2021.

Even with its outstanding planning and policy efforts, the city does not actually build housing and, like most cities, has fallen short of producing the number of units identified in the RHNA process.

Currently, the city has 2,799 units that are deed-restricted as affordable, the Planning Department said. In addition, there are 907 affordable units that are either under construction or in the planning stage.

The programs and policies that the city has been implementing include the inclusionary housing ordinance which requires developers of housing projects consisting of 10 units or more to set aside 20 percent of the units as affordable; the imposition of in-lieu fees, which a developer may choose to pay as an alternative to providing affordable units on-site; actually funding affordable housing units with federal dollars; conversion of hotels to affordable housing; and establishment of SRO (single-room occupancy) units as an allowed land use.

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