It must be bewildering to be a housing advocate, community advocate or planner in Santa Monica.
In 2022, the state sanctioned the city for a housing element that didn’t produce enough housing…the so-called-builder’s remedy. In 2023, news broke that city officials met with officials of Palmdale about the possibility of paying the city to build its share of affordable housing required by the state.
And in the first month of 2024, the state awarded the city the designation of “Pro housing Community” (link to program website) for “making a concerted effort to build more homes to help address the state’s critical need for housing.”
The release announcing the designation states that, “Jurisdictions earning the Prohousing designation are aggressively taking on that challenge with resilience, steadfast determination, and accountability.”
While the designation may be politically confusing, it does carry benefits for the city as it strives to meet its housing goals. Prohousing communities receive additional points in the scoring of competitive housing, community development, and infrastructure funding administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
These grants include the Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities (AHSC), Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG), Transformative Climate Communities (TCC), Solutions for Congested Corridors, Local Partnership Program, Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) .
Prohousing communities also have exclusive access to the Prohousing Incentive Program (PIP) grant program that was allocated $9.5 million in the current budget.
“We need to aggressively build more housing to support Californians. Prohousing cities move to the front of the line when it comes to incentives, funding and other state resources,” said Newsom in a prepared statement. “It’s critical for more communities to join in this distinction and build their fair share of housing.”
Santa Monica was joined by six other communities in receiving this designation this year. Those communities are Eureka, Healdsburg, Mountain View, Petaluma, San Luis Obispo and Tulare County. Thirty seven other communities had already been designated Prohousing Communities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Pasadena. A full list of designated cities can be found here.