Overview of Affordable Housing in Vallejo

Part 1: City-administered, Income-Based Subsidy Programs

By Melinda Nestlerode, Vallejo Housing and Community Development Manager

This article is the first in a four-part series on affordable housing in Vallejo.

Affordable housing is one of the most misunderstood topics in our community. One way to begin to better understand it is to consider the three income-based programs the city of Vallejo administers in one form or another. (Subsequent articles in this series will address other aspects of affordable housing, such as Section 8, Housing Choice Vouchers, Below Market Rate units, etc.)

In general, the Housing Authority of the City of Vallejo (VHA) addresses the needs of the lowest income group or tenants: families or individuals with incomes from 0 percent to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

The City of Vallejo administers the HOME Investment Partnerships and Community Development Block Grant Programs, which support families and individuals whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the AMI.

Additionally, the City of Vallejo provides a Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which supports families and individuals with incomes up to 120 percent of the AMI.

For reference, a family of four making $41,300 is at 50 percent of the AMI, and considered Very Low-Income, and a family of four earning $65,000 is at 80 percent of the AMI, and designated as Low-Income.

In addition to the VHA and city-administered programs, there are sixteen privately owned and managed apartment communities that offer affordable housing in Vallejo, and one more is under construction. The occupants of seven of these communities are restricted to senior citizens over the age of 62.

All subsidized units can be divided into two groups: those subsidized by VHA funding and those that are not.

The maximum number of VHA subsidized units in Vallejo is 2292, assuming 100 percent lease-up—that is, assuming 100% of all vouchers issued by HUD to VHA are in use, which never happens due to lack of funding.

The total number of non-VHA subsidized rental units is 1597. These units may be subsidized by HUD, the Redevelopment Agency, tax credit equity programs, private funding, or a combination of such subsidies.

Combining the VHA and non-VHA subsidized units achieves a maximum total of all subsidized units of 3889, or ten percent (10%) of all housing units in Vallejo.

Including all family members, the total number of subsidized individuals in Vallejo is 8880, or 8 percent of Vallejo’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13 percent of Vallejo’s population lived below the poverty level from 2006 through 2010.

Given these numbers, the claim one sometimes hears, that Vallejo is “overrun” with subsidized housing, would appear to be inaccurate and potentially misleading.

The next three articles will go into detail regarding the programs provided by the City of Vallejo and VHA; explain state-mandated affordable housing requirements and fair housing laws; provide information on privately operated apartment communities; and cover the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies and what it means to the future of affordable housing.

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