Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes. (305827)
Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes. Credit: Lula Davis-Holmes

The California Statewide Community Development Authority (CSCDA) has issued more than $65 billion in bonds for over 1,700 public benefit financings, including creating or preserving workforce housing for middle-income professionals. The City of Carson, under the leadership of Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes, is taking advantage of this program to attract employers who provide high-wage jobs and to help Carson’s professionals find affordable luxury housing in the city.

As part of her Covid-19 recovery effort, the mayor is also working with the local South Bay Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to help her residents find high-wage jobs.

“This initiative increases disposable income for local Carson residents, stimulates the Carson economy, and encourages Sheriffs, Firefighters, Nurses and other professionals to live in the communities they serve,” WIB Executive Director Jan Vogel said.

Davis-Holmes’ timing is perfect considering on May 5, 2021 a federal judge vacated a nationwide COVID-19 eviction moratorium, and the State’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium will end on June 30. Although the federal ruling does not affect California’s moratorium or the one enacted by the City of Carson, people remain concerned about access to affordable housing in California.

In the current Southern California rental market, middle-income families have difficulty affording rent and other necessities such as food, clothing, and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the COVID-19 pandemic, rents and home prices have soared, with rents often consuming up to 50 percent of a family’s income. We also saw a shift to more people working from home and employers wanting to relocate to communities with accessible home prices.

To help address the problem of affordability in the Southern California housing market, Standard Communities has partnered with the City of Carson and the CSCDA. Working together, they are bringing broader affordability to the Union South Bay Apartments and its 357 units with premium finishes and a host of work-from-home lifestyle amenities include a fitness center, rooftop deck, and a resort-style swimming pool.

“This effort to preserve housing for local professionals aligns with my COVID-19 recovery plan to attract middle-income employers and the jobs they create.” Davis-Holmes said, “Our children should be able to work, live and play in the communities they grew up in.”

Under a state program, the rent levels for these units will be lowered to 35 percent of household income at 80 to 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) levels making the units accessible to working professionals.

In addition, the rent levels will be annually capped and will always stay within this range of incomes for approximately 35 years. Under the regulatory agreement, rent growth is directly tied to income growth, with increases not to exceed 4 percent annually.

Located at 615 East Carson St., the Union South Bay Apartments were completed in 2020 and comprises two five-story buildings on an approximately five-acre site. In addition to the apartment units and amenities, the mixed-use community features over 28,000 square feet of commercial space.

Carson has provided 593 affordable housing units for low-income tenants.

“The city is also providing rental assistance grants, up to a maximum of $10,000, to help households that fall at or below 80 percent of the area median income,” Davis-Holmes said. “The applicants must have been economically impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss, layoffs or deduction in hours or pay. More information is available through the city’s website.”