On Tuesday, August 27, 2019, in the face of the California housing crisis, the City of Glendale took significant and meaningful actions that will have a long-lasting impact on future affordable housing opportunities in Glendale.
The Glendale City Council, acting in their joint role as the Glendale Housing Authority, authorized the acquisition of two Glendale properties that are designated to be developed as long term affordable housing for lower income residents by committing a combined $25.5 million to acquire 4.4 acres of land. The acquisitions represent the most significant and largest investment the City has made to date for affordable housing purposes.
The first site, located at 515 Pioneer Drive, is made up of 2.8 acres that was listed for sale on the open market by AT&T. Once acquired, the site will be demolished and master planned to make way for a series of new construction project(s). The second site is located at 900-920 E. Broadway and was also offered for sale on the open market. That site consists of 1.6 acres of land and presents an opportunity to develop new construction units in and around 3 historic office buildings that will be preserved and adaptively reused for affordable housing.
Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian stated, “Glendale has taken a comprehensive approach and aggressive actions to respond to the current housing crisis. These land acquisitions are an essential step for Glendale. It is rare for cities our size to purchase multiple properties and make bold investments such as this to create more affordable housing.”
Tuesday’s action of the City Council comes on the heels of a slate of other significant steps the City has recently taken to address the issue of housing affordability in Glendale and in the region. Analysis and policy considerations by the City Council over the last two years has led to a slew of new and innovative policies and programs that will add to an already robust portfolio of affordable housing. In just the last year, the Glendale City Council/Housing Authority has:
Approved a new citywide Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance (IZO) that requires affordable units as part of any new market rate residential project. The IZO will be applied to rental projects with five or more units. It will require that 15% of the total units in an otherwise market-rate rental project be affordable to low income households,
Committed over $24 million in newly approved local Measure S sales tax proceeds towards future affordable housing projects and programs.
Authored 3 state housing bills (SB 532, SB 521 and AB 1110) that are currently working their way through the CA Senate and Assembly legislative process. The bills will generate new affordable housing revenue for the City of Glendale, enhance the Section 8 Voucher program for housing authorities throughout California, and increase the rent increase noticing periods for approximately 5.8 million renter households in the state.
Implemented a Commercial Development Impact Fee, a one-time fee charged to new commercial developments that will be designated for affordable housing – one of only five agencies in Southern California to do so.
Adopted and implemented a Rental Rights Program in response to rising rental rates in the region. The program expands Glendale’s existing Just Cause Eviction ordinance by adding two new programs- Right to Lease and Relocation Assistance - which are intended to address excessive rent increases being served to tenants in Glendale. The Rental Rights Program is designed to provide stability and mitigate the impact of displacement through guaranteed lease offerings and relocation assistance when moving because of a rent increase above 7%.
Applied for and were awarded 14 new special-use Section 8 vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for very low income developmentally disabled, non-senior adults who are leaving institutional settings for independent living or at-risk of being homeless.
Approved a Monthly Housing Subsidy Program, an $8.4 million pilot program that will provide a $300 monthly housing subsidy, for 24 months, to lower-income senior Glendale renter households. The purpose of the program is to assist extremely low-income senior renter households being impacted by rising rental rates, particularly those of lower income, who are rent burdened and disabled.
Celebrated the grand opening of the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity Lomita project, a six-unit homeownership project in Glendale for low-income first-time homebuyers. This is the ninth collaboration between Habitat and the City of Glendale that has created 43 affordable homeownership units.
Initiated two affordable housing lotteries for two new housing opportunities – the soon to be completed Vista Grande Court, a $24 million, 66-unit low income affordable senior housing rental project and 31units created under the City’s Density Bonus ordinance. Applications can be downloaded at: www.liveatvistagrandecourt.com.
Despite the number of internal and external challenges in providing affordable housing options, the Glendale City Council and Housing Authority have adopted an affordable housing strategy containing specific action items to promote the development of more affordable housing across all segments of the community. The strategy is summarized into three broad affordable housing categories — Legislative Platform, Dedicated Revenue, and Land Use Tools. Since adoption, the City Council/Housing Authority and staff have been working on advancing these concepts and/or taking action on the various strategies identified.
Glendale Housing Authority Chair Vrej Agajanian stated, “Glendale has been persistently working on multiple fronts to aggressively develop a larger stock of affordable housing. There is a huge need and we are excited that Glendale is on the forefront of this statewide issue.”
Glendale has always been a leader in the region in developing affordable housing. First established in 1978, the Glendale Housing Authority has been responsible for the development of over 1200 new construction affordable units (of which nearly 600 units have been developed since 2006), over 1800 single and multi-family rehabilitation loan projects, more than 300 first time home buyer loans and hundreds of unique programs and projects for special needs populations such as seniors, developmentally disabled individuals, veterans, artists, and victims of domestic violence. Complimenting those programs, the City also operates one of the largest and most effective Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs in Los Angeles County as evidenced by its ranking as a “High Performer” agency for the last 16 years. Glendale continues to put a great deal of time and effort on affordable housing and uses every mechanism in its reach to continue this momentum.
Affordable housing is important now more than ever, and the multiple actions recently taken contribute to the goal of creating and preserving units across Glendale. The Glendale City Council and Housing Authority will continue to work relentlessly to satisfy the growing need for affordable housing in the City of Glendale.