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Outside help needed to secure affordable housing in Lathrop
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The good news with housing in Lathrop?
The City of Lathrop is meeting its marks for affordable housing in the above-moderate and moderate income brackets as outlined by the San Joaquin Council of Governments.
But that’s about as far as the city’s affordable housing goes thanks to rising housing costs that are affecting nearly every community in the Northern San Joaquin Valley as Bay Area prices soar and force even more families to look inland for places that they can call home.
On Monday, the Lathrop City Council accepted an annual progress report for the city’s annual Hosing Element – one of the core components of the city’s General Plan, which is currently up for an update for the first time in the city’s history – that spelled out that even though the city is meeting some of its obligations, those who fall into the low and very-low income brackets are going to find a hard time affording housing in the growing city.
And there’s not much that they can do about it without outside assistance.
According to Community Development Director Rebecca Willis, the lack of low and very-low income options in the face of an unprecedented period of growth is typical of a smaller valley community that never utilized a redevelopment agency when they were allowed by the State of California. Without redevelopment programs in place that would help subsidize the housing in order to meet the needs of those targeted groups, the city would be faced with either subsidizing housing out of its own general fund, or receiving money from state programs aimed at providing for those who can’t afford housing under current market conditions.
And right now, there isn’t much that is known about how the city’s going to be able to meet those targets.
When Councilman Paul Akinjo pressed Willis about what the long-term ramifications would be for the city if they aren’t able to come up with ways to provide housing to people of those income brackets – which are set on a regional level by SJCOG – Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore stepped in to explain that without state assistance, the only thing that Lathrop could do would be to use taxpayer funds already earmarked for other things to create its own subsidy program.
With almost all of Lathrop’s residential growth focused on the area west of I-5, the majority of the housing that could be considered “affordable” is located on the other side of the freeway in the city’s older neighborhoods.
Willis said that the formula for determining housing for Lathrop includes both single-family residences and higher-density options, and the only apartments that have come on-line in Lathrop recently were in the city’s older neighborhood – an overhaul of the dilapidated units on O Street that had become a magnet for crime and fallen into disrepair before they were shuttered.