Two years ago after the Culver City Council first engaged in a tough conversation about rapidly rising rents, it is finally hosting a Community Conversation on the important issue of Affordable Housing. The conversation is set to take place on Saturday, January 28th, from 9 am to 12 pm. We are glad that the City Council is committed to engaging the community in this critical and pressing issue. Here is the invitation.
We believe it is important to be well informed as we enter this conversation to make sure we can participate effectively. To this end, between now and the 28th we will be sharing information on this blog and through our Facebook group and page.
In general terms, in the United States, the term affordable housing is used to describe housing, rental or owner-occupied, that is affordable no matter what one’s income is. The U.S. government regards housing costs at or below 30% of one’s income to be affordable.
Just so you get a sense of how to figure out how much you need to make to afford a typical rental in Culver City, go to this Rent Affordability Calculator by Zillow. Notice that their calculation defines affordable as paying 40% of your income after paying debts. You can also go to their For Rent section, type in Culver City and go through the rentals and use the calculator to see how much one would have to earn for it to be considered affordable.
Another important part of preparing for this conversation is to become familiar with what services Culver City’s Housing Division currently offers. On their website you can see that these are currently the services that are offered for residents:
The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is designed to assist families currently receiving rental assistance from the City of Culver City Rental Assistance Program. This five year program offers families the opportunity to participate in classroom training, job training, and other training to prepare for careers that will assist the family in raising their income level where a housing subsidy is no longer necessary.
In coordination with the Committee on Homelessness, the Housing Division of the Community Development Department has created a Homeless Resource Guide and it is now available to all residents and businesses in Culver City. The resource guide provides referral information for Crisis Lines, Food Programs, Homeless Shelters & Services, Legal Services, Medical & Mental Health Programs, and Substance Abuse Programs.
The Landlord-Tenant Mediation Board was established by the City Council in 1981 to offer voluntary mediation services to the tenant-landlord community. Those services were extended on May 20, 1987 by Title 15.09 of the Culver City Municipal Code to provide mandatory “good faith” mediation of rental disputes relating to rent increases in Culver City.
In our next blog post we will share information about ordinances that other cities have adopted to help housing more affordable.