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Hillcrest Town Council update – Aug. 12, 2016

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis visits, affordable housing discussed

By Mary M. McKenzie

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) paid a visit to the Hillcrest Town Council community meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9, where she expressed an understanding of why many Americans appear angry with Congress.

She emphasized her resolve to continue to work on issues such as gun violence, Zika virus funding, a student debt solution, protecting voting rights, transportation and affordable housing, the theme of the night.

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (standing at right) speaks at the Hillcrest Town Council community meeting on Aug. 9. (Photo by Benny Cartwright)

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (standing at right) speaks at the Hillcrest Town Council community meeting on Aug. 9. (Photo by Benny Cartwright)

Davis welcomed questions from the audience and encouraged everyone to vote in November.

The main focus of the meeting was on affordable housing. Stephen Russell, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, presented data to explain the reasons for the dearth of affordable housing in San Diego.

The local market, he said, is characterized by comparatively low wages and high prices, putting houses out of reach of the majority of working San Diegans. Developers are over-supplying houses that are affordable only to those in the highest-income brackets, while demand for low- and median-income homes significantly exceeds the supply.

To solve the problems of affordable housing in San Diego, Russell said, more resources need to be dedicated to building affordable housing and developing supportive infrastructure. Increasing public recognition of the benefits of affordable housing is crucial to any viable solution.

Russell also dispelled an urban myth that the homeless in San Diego are coming here from other cities. In reality, he said, 70 percent of our homeless become street people while already living in the city.

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Stephen Russell, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, discusses the affordable housing problem in the city. (Photo by Benny Cartwright)

Also at the meeting, representatives from several community organizations gave updates on neighborhood issues, including the upcoming plastic bag ban, the University Avenue Pipeline Project, and the statewide traffic ticket amnesty program. The participants also heard briefly from former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, who urged residents to lend support to the homeless, and District 3 City Councilmember-elect Chris Ward, who thanked people for supporting his run for office.

The Hillcrest Business Association invited residents to support CityFest on Sunday, Aug. 13.

Also, the Town Council announced the appointment of Daniel Merk-Benitez as an at-large board member. He is an interior designer and a Hillcrest resident who volunteers at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and is involved with AIDS Walk.

Next month’s meeting of the Town Council is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Joyce Beers Community Center, located at 3900 Vermont Ave. in the HUB Shopping Center. If you’re looking to get more involved in the neighborhood, the Town Council always welcomes new volunteers. If you have any questions, contact chair Kath Rogers at dognamedannie@gmail.com. More information about the Town Council is online at hillcrestowncouncil.com.

—Mary M. McKenzie is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.

One Comments

  1. Tim Gahagan says:

    I’m confused. If “70 percent of our homeless become street people while already living in the city”, doesn’t that mean that 30% come from elsewhere. How does that dispel the myth?

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