San Luis Obispo backs funding for 100+ affordable apartments

Jan 24, 2020

The city of San Luis Obispo moved forward this week with support for a plan for 108 affordable housing units for low-income residents. The city council approved $2 million dollars Tuesday to help fund the construction of that housing.

The nonprofit Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH) asked the city for money—in the form of loans—to help pay for two affordable housing projects. One complex is planned for South Broad Street and another at Tiburon Place on Bullock Lane.

When developers don’t provide any affordable units as part of a construction project, they are required by state law to pay what are called 'in-lieu fees.' That money goes into a fund to help build affordable housing projects elsewhere. 

John Fowler, CEO of Peoples' Self-Help Housing, said he's grateful the plan was embraced by city officials. 

“It’s because of all the forward thinking that this city has had regarding housing and providing housing for the community, both market rate and affordable," Fowler told KCBX News. "We’re excited to be working with San Luis Obispo, it’s a good partnership.”

Access to the new housing will be competitive. Fowler said he estimates more than 600 people will apply to rent the apartments, and that applicants will be chosen through a lottery about six months before the units are completed.

“When these units [become available], obviously it’s never enough housing.” Fowler said. “There are still going to be people who are struggling and who are homeless. But we’re making our dent and we’re trying to do our thing. “

Applicants will qualify if their income is between $21,000 and $42,000 dollars a year. Fowler estimates the buildings should be ready for tenants in three years.