Advocates Support Admending Sacramento’s Mixed Income Housing

On Tuesday, February 10th, the Sacramento City Council held a workshop on the city’s Mixed Income Housing Ordinance. Many people spoke to support an ordinance amendment that would be city-wide and include homes for families making less than $22,000 a year. The supporters included Loaves & Fishes who delivered print-outs of the over 500 people and organizations that have signed on to their open letter. The League of Women Voters, residents from Quinn Cottages, tenants of Riverview Plaza and members of St. John’s Luther Church were among some of the others who also spoke in favor.
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City Council was clearly moved by the testimony and showed some support for amending the ordinance. However, they continue to waffle and provide weak advice to staff. The Council finally decided to pass the issue to a stakeholder group put together by the Housing and Redevelopment Agency, who will return with a report for the council.
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A Mixed Income Housing ordinance requires that new housing developments include a percentage of homes that are affordable to lower income and working
families. The programs differ in who they serve, but in California, over 170 different jurisdictions have these kinds of housing ordinances. Mixed income housing produces more affordable homes and mixes in affordable housing
into different neighborhoods.
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Currently the City of Sacramento’s Mixed Income Housing ordinance only covers
“new growth” areas. Also, it only requires that new developments include 10% of the homes for those with very low incomes and 5% for low income. There is no
housing dedicated for those with extremely low incomes.
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Affordable homes are designed for people making less than 80% of the median income for a given area. In the Sacramento area, the median income for a family
of four is $71,000. The different affordability levels are defined as a percentage of this number:
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“Low Income” is 80% of the median income, or $56,800 per year:
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“Very Low Income” is 50% of the median income, or $35,500 per year:
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“Extremely Low Income” is 30% of the median income, or $21,300 per year for a family of four.
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For a one person household, an income of $14,900 per year would be considered; which is still more than some retirees living on Social Security receive.
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Market rate housing serves people with median income. The old rule-of-thumb is that people should pay roughly 30% of their income to housing. But the way the market has been the last few years, to get housing many families and individuals have had to pay a higher percentage than that.
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The Sacramento Housing Alliance has been leading advocacy efforts towards changing the current ordinance. Sandra Hamameh, Sacramento Housing Alliance Program Director explained, “We need people in the City of Sacramento to continue to urge the Mayor and City Council to do the right thing: To apply the ordinance city-wide and include housing for the poorest of the poor.”
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The Sacramento Housing Alliance asks advocates and supporters to continue to send letters, e-mails or make phone calls to the Mayor and City Council to urge them to adopt an ordinance that applies to the entire city and includes housing for families making less than $22,000 for a family of four.