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Community Commentary: Ending redevelopment has devastating consequences

January 21, 2012|By Patricia Whitaker

In an effort to balance the state budget, the California Supreme Court voted at the end of December to eliminate redevelopment agencies across the state effective Jan. 31. It further struck down a separate law that would have allowed agencies to stay afloat if they paid more than $1 billion to the state.

The decision has understandably caused a reverberation of panic from proponents desperate to find an amicable way to salvage redevelopment in some form and stave off the chaos that will surface as a result of dismantling the agencies.

Irvine Housing Opportunities (IHO) is a mission-driven, nonprofit affordable housing developer. Like many of our for-profit and nonprofit colleagues, we are dedicated to building quality housing that enhances the individuals and communities we serve.

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Redevelopment agencies and the funds they provide are the single most stable source of funding available in California to help finance affordable housing, community and economic development. The developments and projects redevelopment agencies have funded brought construction jobs with local hiring mandates and a demand for goods and services associated with the construction.

The resultant new developments and recapitalization of existing projects bring new tax revenue streams and jobs for the businesses that are created and the cycle continues. The affordable housing IHO and other developers create and operate bring stability to some of the most vulnerable citizens and communities in our state including the newly homeless, working poor, those seeking refuge from abuse and neglect, youth coming out of the foster care system, and the developmentally disabled, mentally ill and low-income seniors — many living below the poverty of poverty.

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