HUD's Record-breaking Subsidized Housing Projects in California

More than half a dozen affordable housing projects in California are costing more than $1 million per apartment to build, a record-breaking sum that makes it harder to house the growing numbers of low-income Californians who need help paying rent, a Times review of state data found. Previously, The Times identified one other — much smaller — proposed affordable housing development in California that eclipsed $1 million per apartment to build. “That is untenable,” said Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), who is writing legislation aimed at simplifying state affordable housing financing. The seven subsidized housing developments, all in Northern California, received state funding within the last two years and are under construction or close to breaking ground. But their exorbitant price tags mean that taxpayers are subsidizing fewer apartments than they otherwise could while waiting lists of renters needing affordable housing continue to grow. But found numerous factors within the control of state and local governments also to blame for the high cost of building affordable housing in California. The Terner Center study on the cost to build low-income housing found that projects paying union-level wages to construction workers could cost $50,000 more per apartment and those built to stricter environmental standards cost $17,000 more per apartment than those that aren’t. Affordable housing projects also frequently face high parking requirements, lengthy local approval processes and a byzantine bureaucracy to secure financing. (). Continue reading.

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