Mason Affordable Housing
The Mason, a Fifth Avenue affordable housing project. Photo courtesy San Diego Housing Commission

The San Diego Housing Commission and five other public housing agencies around the county are set to receive millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to offer rental assistance to low-income families, it was announced Monday.

HUD plans to increase rental assistance funding by 14 percent for the housing commission, as well as the public housing agencies that oversee the county of San Diego and the cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and National City.

As a result of the funding boost, the housing commission will receive roughly $20 million in additional funds to help low-income residents cover monthly rental expenses. The funding change is scheduled to take effect when fiscal year 2020 begins July 1.

“There are many vulnerable households across the San Diego region that rely on rental assistance from the federal government to make ends meet, and it’s still not enough for some because of the high housing costs here,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “That’s why we’ve been advocating so hard for years for additional funding from HUD that is more in line with the actual cost of living.”

The funding boost will allow the agencies to raise their payment standards, the maximum amount of rent they can subsidize for low-income residents via Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers. Low-income tenants who receive rental assistance can also pay the difference if a unit’s rent is higher than the payment standard.

The housing commission’s payment standards vary from $735 to more than $4,000 per month depending on a rented unit’s size, location and the family’s median income. The housing commission provides rental assistance to more than 15,000 households each year.

“This is great news for San Diego,” said housing commission President and CEO Richard Gentry. “These additional funds will help the San Diego Housing Commission raise its rental assistance payment standards again as we continue to help as many low-income families as possible pay their rent in the expensive and tight rental market in the city of San Diego.”

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.