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Leslie Davis, San Clemente
I attended the San Clemente City Council meeting on April 2. I couldn’t believe the number of people complaining about the homeless; yet, finally realizing we can’t pretend they aren’t here, we need an emergency shelter and some long-term affordable housing. Speaking of that, the city manager, community development director and the Planning Commission ignored the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program (IHP) by approving a 150-unit senior apartment project without including any affordable units. The IHP requires 15 percent affordable units on-site, off-site or the payment of an in-lieu fee. It’s a mistake for the city to collect a fee instead of providing the 23 (affordable) units on-site, especially because the March 6 Planning Commission report does not include an analysis of whether the fee will be enough to provide the 23 units somewhere else in town.
Seniors are the fastest-growing homeless population, and, as reported by the Economic Policy Institute, half of U.S. families have no retirement account at all. They reported that the median savings for people between 56 and 61 was $17,000. Most think local seniors are rich, but many will be selling their home to retire and moving out of town. EPI also reported that many seniors will rely on their children to help them. So perhaps instead of another affordable senior housing development, we should put that in-lieu fee into affordable housing for working households, so they can save some money for their retirement.
Leslie Davis is a retired housing coordinator with the city of San Clemente.
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