Rancho Penasquitos development has Section 8 residents fearful for their future

RANCHO PENASQUITOS (KUSI) — The shortage of affordable housing is a huge problem for hundreds of people in one apartment complex in Rancho Penasquitos. The squeeze in the rental housing market is affecting the elderly and the poor who are living in the Penasquitos Village Apartments complex. 

The owner of the 332 unit complex wants a developer to demolish the existing site and put up brand new single family homes, triplex homes, town homes and apartments. At the new market rates, longtime tenants won’t have the money to stay. 

85-year-old Jose Zara, a current resident, has launched a letter-writing campaign looking for help. He has written to city officials and even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Jose and his wife Rose pay only $393 a month for rent, using subsidies provided from the federal government under Section 8. 

What will these people, who are losing sleep and living in fear for their future, do?

"I would tell them that that’s a very hard question to answer," Sue Reynolds of Community HousingWorks said. Community HousingWorks is a nonprofit organization that creates more affordable housing. 

We are in the depths of a housing crisis, Reynolds added. 

"It’s like a game of musical chairs and the music stopped. There’s not enough chairs."

Section 8 housing is scarce, with some people waiting up to 10 years before finding a new residency. The developer has not indicated if it will set aside any below market rental units, and it seems unlikely that any Section 8 subsidies will be accepted. Section 8 housing is in extremely short supply. According to estimates from SANDAG, San Diego will need to add 40,000 subsidized housing units in the next four years. 

Categories: Local San Diego News