Residents fight to save affordable housing complex in Rancho Pen - The CW San Diego - News 8

Residents fight to save affordable housing complex in Rancho Penasquitos

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SAN DIEGO NEWS 8) - A plan to demolish their home has residents of an affordable housing complex in the North County up in arms.

A developer is aiming to replace the Penasquitos Village, a 332-unit, low-income housing complex home to many seniors, with 601 luxury townhome and apartment units. The fear is that with the city's lack of affordable housing options, the development will force more people out onto the streets.

"The Mayor is talking about taking care of the homeless?" resident Velma Smith said at a community meeting earlier this year. "Well then step up to the plate and don't let them do this, otherwise he's going to have a heck of a lot more homeless people."

Atlantic Pacific Properties regional supervisor Kim Arnold said that the fears are unwarranted and that the developers of the property won't let the project make anyone homeless.

"The developer is committed to making sure that all voucher holders at the village are relocated into new housing," Arnold said. "And, in fact, we've set aside apartments at other communitties that we manage in San Diego to ensure that. At this time, we've already relocated or found placement for 50 percent of current voucher holders."

Arnold added that the developer has promised not to demolish and rebuild until all voucher holders have found a place to live.

Local faith leaders and community members are planning to gather outside of the City Administration building Thursday morning at 8 a.m. to urge the San Diego Planning Commission to vote against Atlantic Pacific Properties' plan that would eliminate the only affordable housing option in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood. Under the new development, only 28 units would be reserved for low-income renters.

"To be clear, the current project is a market-rent, fully conventional property and sometimes that's been lost in all of these stories, and we understand it's very difficult for all of these people. That's why we're committed to helping them 100 percent," Arnold said.

The planning commission is scheduled to vote on the project at 9 a.m. but the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the San Diego City Council which will vote on the plan early next year.

According to a government report released Wednesday, San Diego County has the fourth largest population of homeless people in the United States. The report said that there are more than 9,100 homeless people currently living on the streets.

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