50 New Affordable Housing Units Coming to Pasadena

Fifty new affordable housing units are currently under construction in Pasadena – one bright spot in the City’s bleak affordable housing outlook as demand far outpaces the supply.

William Huang, Pasadena’s Director of Housing and Career Services, said more units are in the development pipeline and should soon help ease the housing shortage.

Illustrating the shortage, Huang said in a report last week that there were 22 applications received for every available unit in the recent lease-up of the Heritage Square Senior Apartments project at 762 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, which provides 70 high-quality affordable rental housing units to Pasadena’s aging population.

The Pasadena Section 8 waiting list still contains over 23,000 households as housing rents and sales prices continued to increase at a rate much greater than incomes, resulting in a widespread housing affordability crisis.
In September last year, Pasadena surpassed Los Angeles as the city with the most expensive rents within the L.A. metropolitan area. Local experts said this could be attributed to Pasadena’s favorable and attractive location as well as the City’s housing shortage. In the Los Angeles Rent Report that month, a two-bedroom apartment in Pasadena was renting at a median of $2,630 while a one-bedroom unit comes in at around $2,060.

Huang has recently released a map showing where affordable deed restricted and Section 8 housing are located. He said the map will show thousands of affordable and Section 8 units scattered throughout most of the City’s multifamily zoned areas.

The map also shows that large areas without affordable units are primarily those zoned with single family housing. Certain areas of the City have more affordable housing than other areas, as for example northwest Pasadena compared to east Pasadena.

When new affordable housing projects are proposed, they can be shown on the map to better inform the City Council about the proposed project’s impact on the City’s overall geographic distribution of affordable housing, Huang said.

In April, Caltrans opened 42 properties along the proposed SR-710 North Corridor for sale under its Affordable Sales Program, which returns state-owned property to the communities of Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles and allows tenants the opportunity to become homeowners. The properties are among 460 parcels currently owned by Caltrans, that were once purchased for the State Route 710 corridor extension project.

Caltrans said then that it had received 90 responses on the 42 properties and was reviewing the applications for eligibility.
In December, Caltrans notified potential buyers that they may be eligible to purchase the property they were living in, with first priority given to low- and moderate-income tenants under the Roberti Bill.

Caltrans has contracted with Veterans Realty Group, a real estate consulting company, to facilitate the transactions and guide occupants through the purchase process. The California Housing Finance Agency has established a special mortgage product to assist lower income tenants in purchasing the properties at affordable prices.

Sales on these properties could begin late in 2017, Caltrans said.

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