Mayor’s Message | Affordable Housing: Promoting Belonging and Opportunity in Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Sentinel
In a world driven by urbanization and economic challenges, the concept of affordable housing is much more than just bricks and mortar – it is the foundation on which our society is built.
At Santa Cruz, we are proud of our recent achievement of housing allocation, in recognition of our commitment to meeting housing needs and promoting affordable housing initiatives. Our city not only met our 5th Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals, but exceeded them, delivering more than 1,000 units beyond standards.
It is worth noting that half of these new units are designated for affordable housing options. This underscores Santa Cruz’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity and sustainable housing solutions.
However, let’s not focus only on numbers and statistics. Instead, let’s delve into the heart of the matter – how affordable housing changes lives and weaves the fabric of our society.
One exciting development emerging from our commitment is the allocation of $33.5 million from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program by the California Strategic Growth Council. This funding brings life to our downtown library and affordable housing project – an embodiment of our goals.
The AHSC program prioritizes projects that integrate land use, housing, transportation, and land conservation to create healthier, more sustainable communities. It resonates deeply with our vision for Santa Cruz where our carbon footprint diminishes, housing remains affordable, and our sense of community is strengthened. By combining modern library facilities and affordable housing options in one central location, we are creating a more cohesive community. It is an approach that not only enhances comfort, but also a sense of belonging.
Sustainability is woven into the fabric of this project. We aim to encourage residents to adopt sustainable transportation, reduce emissions, and adopt green building practices. We realize that affordable housing should not come at the expense of our environment.
However, let us not rest on our laurels. Our commitment to providing affordable housing extends beyond these wonderful landmarks. We will continue to explore innovative solutions, engage with community stakeholders and seek more funding opportunities. Our consistent goal is to create more affordable housing options in Santa Cruz.
Affordable housing, for us, is not just about shelter; It’s about ensuring every resident feels they belong and has opportunities to thrive, regardless of income level. We firmly believe that every person deserves a place to call home.
But let’s not forget the unsung heroes on this journey – our dedicated city employees, our invaluable community partners, and you, our community. It is our unwavering support and tireless efforts that have made these achievements possible.
Together, we are transforming Santa Cruz into a place where housing is not a privilege but a right, where sustainability is not just a buzzword but a way of life, and where opportunities know no bounds.
As we move forward, Santa Cruz remains steadfast in its commitment to prioritizing affordable housing and sustainability. We aim not only to set an example, but also to create a lasting legacy and a blueprint for other cities to follow. At Santa Cruz, we don’t just build homes; We build futures.
Fred Kelly is the mayor of Santa Cruz.