2001 Final Report:
Redevelopment Agencies and Their Role in Affordable Housing
primary purposes of Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) are to alleviate urban
blight, provide affordable housing, develop downtown property and stimulate
economic growth. In 1976 California created the Low and Moderate Income
Housing Fund (AB 3674, Montoya). That legislation requires that all new
redevelopment projects set aside a minimum of 20% of their tax increment
revenues for low and moderate income housing. "Tax increment revenues"
are the property tax increases stemming from growth in property value
due to redevelopment.
Issue: Is there sufficient monitoring, oversight, and publicity in San Mateo County of the housing element in the 19 Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs), with respect to the 20% set aside tax increments for low and moderate income housing required by state law?
housing in San Mateo County is on center stage today. The San Mateo County
Board of Supervisors recently made a one-time contribution of $3 million
to the Housing Trust Fund. Many young adults are challenged by the high
cost of housing. Many others, including doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters,
and police, are also negatively affected. A measure of the need comes
from the California Budget Project that reported (September 2001) that
a family of four, with both parents working and an annual income of $68,479,
is eligible for low and moderate income housing. This figure will strike
many as surprisingly high.
Grand Jury, to more fully understand RDAs and their workings, contacted
staff at several RDAs, the County Manager's office, County Counsel, County
Housing Authority, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, and
the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition.
The total housing set aside funds available in San Mateo County in FY 2001 were approximately $19.7 million. These figures should be tracked annually and include not only total housing units produced but details that would help the public appreciate the size and nature of the units. In past years the Legal Aid Society monitored these funds in the county, but it no longer does so. As no other agency provides this service, the Grand Jury believes that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is in the best position to monitor these funds and expenditures countywide and should do so.
The Board of Supervisors should monitor and publicize annually the accumulation and expenditures of the 20% legislatively mandated set aside funds, with sufficient detail about the types and sizes of housing units created so the public can assess the quality, benefits, and effect of the expenditures.