San Diego Housing Federation headquarters in an affordable housing development in North Park. Courtesy SDHF

Advocates of affordable housing have begun a campaign for a $900 million city bond issue to fund construction of 7,500 units for veterans, elderly and families with children.

San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward joined members of the nonprofit San Diego Housing Federation on Tuesday to announce the campaign to place the measure on the November 2020 general election ballot.

“Our current crisis demands bold action to provide the housing we need for all San Diegans,” said Ward. “It’s time for our city to come together in support of a ballot measure that will provide housing that directly addresses the needs of homeless San Diegans and ensures working San Diegans can afford to live throughout the city.”

In 2018, the housing federation floated the idea of a similar ballot measure, but decided to wait until 2020. The proposed measure will be submitted to the City Council Rules Committee this summer.

Housing advocates said the need for affordable housing is dire. They cited a report by the California Housing Partnership that found a shortfall of nearly 137,000 affordable homes in San Diego County.

“Despite local and statewide efforts, we still don’t have enough housing for San Diegans whose wages have failed to keep pace with rents,” said Stephen Russell, executive director of the housing federation. “This ballot measure will take an important step forward toward solving the housing puzzle for the San Diego region.”

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