Developing affordable housing units can be challenging due to procedural red tape and lack of available financing, but Blumenfield is spearheading efforts in City Hall to get over these hurdles and increase the affordable housing stock.
Blumenfield recognizes state and federal funding sources for affordable housing programs almost exclusively focus on providing housing for low income households and leave out the “missing middle,” comprising households that earn too much to qualify for traditional housing programs but not enough to afford market-rate housing. Through Blumenfield’s efforts, the City is exploring alternative financing tools such as joining the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), a joint powers authority that would support the issuance of bonds for the production, preservation and protection of essential middle-income rental housing.
Another issue Blumenfield recognizes in building affordable housing in a timely manner is the need to develop plans that meet all the necessary code and zoning requirements. Applicants ranging from single-family home owners to affordable housing developers all must undergo extensive review in order to ensure that all projects meet applicable zoning and building code requirements. While these reviews are essential to constructing housing that is safe, the design and review process can add months or years to a project and increase project costs substantially, in order to reduce the time it takes to construct housing while at the same time ensuring that it is constructed to zoning and building codes, Blumenfield introduced a measure to have the City create pre-approved standard plans for the most frequent building types and make them free to the public for the purposes of reducing project costs and accelerating housing construction. These construction projects apply to ADUs, bungalows, and multi-family homeless and affordable housing projects.