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Legislative Advocacy FY 2019


Eligible Status for Federal Rental Assistance – June 1, 2019

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, opposing HUD’s proposed rule regarding the eligibility status of federal rental assistance participants.

“HUD’s proposed rule, if implemented, would adversely affect vulnerable families with children in low-income households, including U.S. citizens and legal residents, by potentially ending the housing assistance they currently receive, which potentially puts them at risk of homelessness,” Mr. Gentry wrote.

The proposed rule would have required verification that all members of a household receiving rental assistance have eligible immigration status.

HUD Regional Administrators Meeting at SDHC – May 22, 2019

SDHC hosted HUD Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management Matthew Hunter and HUD’s 10 Regional Administrators for a meeting in San Diego.

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry shared with them details about SDHC’s innovative initiatives in rental assistance, affordable housing and homelessness. This included SDHC’s public housing conversion and finance plan, which created or preserved 810 affordable rental housing units.

An update on the progress of the San Diego EnVision Center, an SDHC partnership, also was among the areas of focus for the meeting.

National Advisory Council Chairman – December 4, 2018

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry was named the chairman in 2019 of the Public Housing Authorities Duty to Serve Advisory Council. The council includes at least 10 public housing agency representatives from across the United States and advises Fannie Mae on how to best support the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

Federal Funding to Address Housing and Homelessness – December 3, 2018

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry urged California’s U.S. Senators and the San Diego Congressional delegation to support the U.S. Senate version of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill for Fiscal Year 2019.

The Senate version of this bill included $1.326 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and increased Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program administrative fees, which help public housing authorities ensure the safety of rental units and the eligibility of housing voucher households.

HUD Deputy Secretary Visits SDHC – August 8, 2018

HUD Deputy Secretary Pamela Patenaude visited SDHC, speaking with President & CEO Richard C. Gentry and senior leadership to learn about the agency’s programs.

During her visit, Deputy Secretary Patenaude commended SDHC for its innovation and described SDHC’s renovation of the historic Hotel Churchill as a model for other public housing authorities.

“Rick Gentry is an innovator and a highly regarded thought leader. I am so pleased to see the progress the San Diego Housing Commission is making under his leadership to address the affordable housing crisis,” Deputy Secretary Patenaude wrote on Twitter.


California State Treasurer Fiona Ma Visits SDHC – June 20, 2019 & January 17, 2019

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma visited SDHC twice in Fiscal Year 2019 for stops on statewide tours she conducted regarding affordable housing.

SDHC Chair of the Board Stefanie Benvenuto joined Treasurer Ma on June 20, 2019, at SDHC as part of the Treasurer’s 10-city “Building for California’s Future” tour.

Approximately 65 people attended this meeting, including representatives from the offices of California State Senator Ben Hueso, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria and San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, and developers, nonprofit partners, and supporters of creating more affordable housing.

In addition, SDHC welcomed Treasurer Ma on January 17, 2019, during the second stop on her listening tour on affordable housing, with approximately 60 people in attendance.

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry participated in this meeting with Treasurer Ma and provided her with copies of three SDHC reports:

  • Addressing the Housing Affordability Crisis: An Action Plan for San Diego
  • Addressing The Housing Affordability Crisis: San Diego Housing Production Objectives 2018-2028
  • SDHC’s Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report

Legislative Advocacy Award for California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins –   April 19, 2019

SDHC nominated California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins for the John Bohm Legislative Advocacy Award from the California Association of Housing Authorities (CAHA).

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry joined his CAHA colleagues to present the award to Senator Atkins.

Throughout her career in public service, Senator Atkins has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the creation of affordable housing and addressing homelessness.

Senator Atkins is the first person to receive this honor other than the award’s namesake, John Bohm, who was the longtime legislative director for the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

City of San Diego

City Council Housing days – July 31, 2018

SDHC presented an informational report to the City Council about local efforts to create and preserve affordable housing in the City of San Diego, including housing production, local policies and trends, funding resources and future challenges.

Legislative Awards for San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez – August 1, 2019

San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez was honored with an award for leadership and advocacy for changes to the City’s Municipal Code to provide more housing opportunities for SDHC’s rental assistance families.

The Pacific Southwest Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (PSWRC-NAHRO) recognized her with its “In Appreciation” award for her work in 2018 on the City of San Diego’s Source of Income Ordinance.

The ordinance she introduced prohibits landlords from declining a tenant based only on the household receiving Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance. The full City Council adopted the ordinance on July 31, 2018. The ordinance became enforceable on August 1, 2019.

SDHC nominated her for this award. She has championed a variety of solutions to the shortage of affordable housing in the City of San Diego, and her leadership on this important issue continues to make a difference for the families SDHC serves.