Desert Hot Springs and Governor Newsom Discuss Affordable Housing

Desert Hot Springs and Governor Newsom Discuss Affordable Housing

Kitty Alvarado Connect

Forty eight cities in the State of California are not meeting their affordable housing requirements. Governor Newsom is so serious about cities meeting their goals he’s suing the City of Huntington Beach.

“I don’t want to sue 47 other cities, quite the contrary, I want to work collaboratively with all of the representatives in those communities,” says Governor Newsom at a press conference outside Long Beach Community College. 

That’s why he invited the mayors of the cities not in compliance to attend a meeting on Wednesday at Long Beach Community College. The mayor of Desert Hot Springs was there.

“Out of 47 cities that were called out and invited to this meeting only 17 mayor showed up in the State of California and me being out of the Coachella Valley,” says Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas. 

Desert Hot Springs in the only city in the valley not meeting the requirement.

He says he had a candid conversation with the governor explaining why the city is not not meeting the requirement, “Our housing element is almost complete, we were in a financial crisis in 2014 when it expired and we didn’t have the consultants or the money to actually update our plan at the time,” adding that when he was elected he made that a priority. 

He also made it clear he’s not happy with the formula, “The problem is when the multi species habitat plan you can’t develop in that but that goes against your numbers on how much affordable housing you need to have.”

He says the other problem is working through the definition of affordable housing for each city, “Can we build a house for $150,000 to $300,000 and be affordable for a working family? That’s what affordable is.”

The mayor says having a seat at the table will make a difference when the millions are divided up for housing from the state, “I wanted to make sure the governor was understanding that every city is not the same and we didn’t want to be put into a box and so when I was there he was very receptive to that and I want to thank the governor for that and i think there was definitely a relationship with the state that was made from this small city here in the Coachella Valley.” 

The governor told the mayors the state will help cities who are working to solve the affordable housing shortage with 1.7 billion dollars in funding and tax incentives. Matas says he’s going to make sure the city gets a fair share of those state funds.