Housing Accessibility & Affordability

The high cost of housing means finding and keeping a place to live remains difficult for many San Diegans. The County is stepping in with an array of funding and permit streamlining to provide housing stability and create more affordable homes.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the economy, the threat of homelessness grew as residents who lost their jobs feared they couldn’t pay the rent. 

The County put more than $27 million into an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help thousands of renters financially impacted by COVID-19 stay in their homes. As the pandemic lingered, the County increased the figure by $107 million in state and federal funds to put toward rental and utility assistance. In Fiscal Year 2021-22, an additional $104 million will be available to help residents as the economy gets back on its feet.

Funding also increases next year for the CalWORKs Housing Support program to help families in need find and retain permanent housing.

The San Diego region is well known for its high rental prices and low vacancy rates. To offset the growing problem, the County launched the Innovative Housing Initiative in 2017. By combining this with new and existing resources, the County constructed a path to spur the creation of more than 2,000 affordable housing units in five years. This will bring the total number of units funded by the County to almost 5,000. 

The County set up an Innovative Housing Trust Fund (IHTF) to provide gap financing to developers that create or preserve affordable housing. So far, over $50 million in IHTF funds have been awarded to increase the region’s inventory of affordable housing by 1,397 affordable housing units in 15 communities, which leveraged $567 million in other funds. These units will house low-income families, homeless veterans, people with physical and/or developmental disabilities, and seniors. An additional $25 million was approved in the new year for innovative housing solutions, which may include the IHTF and other housing-related efforts. 

Excess County properties are also being re-purposed for affordable housing. The properties include the former crime lab in Clairemont Mesa, the former Family Court downtown, the corner of Cedar Street and Kettner Boulevard and an office site in Linda Vista. 

Using local, state and federal funds, the County has opened or is in the process of developing a total of 2,449 affordable housing units.       

There’s more to come. The County bought over seven acres in Ramona last year to develop affordable housing for seniors. 

$66.2 Million

Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance

$12.5 Million

Assistance Payments to Landlords


Households get Monthly Rental Assistance Through the Housing Choice Voucher Program or From Federal Funds Issued by The County


Accessory Dwelling Unit Permits Issued