U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Downey, California, is a community located in southern California near Los Angeles. It covers an area of 12.7 miles.

Action Plan

In the first year of the Consolidated Plan, the city anticipates receiving $1.4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $394,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) grant funds. Another $90,000 is estimated in program income. With $217,172 in CDBG and HOME funds carried over from the prior program year, the combined total is $2.1 million for Fiscal Year 1995.

The activities proposed for Fiscal Year 1995 will result in 100 percent of Federal funds allocated to activities benefiting low- and moderate-income persons.

Citizen Participation

One public hearing and three community meetings were held to generate ideas and feedback from residents. Hearing notices were posted in the Long Beach Press Telegram, the Downey City Library, city hall, and the City Housing Division Office. The first public hearing was held on December 13, 1994, in the city council chambers. All community forums were held in February 1995.

As part of this process, the city surveyed social service agencies for information on community needs and services currently provided. Group meetings were held on January 30, 1995, and March 29, 1995, to obtain input.

In May 1995 the city council conducted a final public hearing to adopt the Consolidated Plan.


Downey's 1990 population was 91,444, a 9.6-percent increase from 1980, according to census figures. The data show that between 1980 and 1990 there was a significant increase in Downey's minority population. While the percentage of Hispanics increased, the white population decreased by 22 percent. In 1990 whites made up 55 percent of the population, Hispanics accounted for 32 percent, Asians/Pacific Islanders comprised 9 percent, and African Americans accounted for 3 percent.

Ten percent of Downey's households are considered extremely low-income (0-30 percent of median family income, MFI). Hispanic households represent 73 percent of the extremely low-income population and African Americans account for 11 percent of this category.

Eleven percent of the population is low-income (31-50 percent of MFI). Of these households, 22 percent are African American and 19 percent are Hispanic. Moderate-income (51-80 percent of MFI) households make up 16 percent of the population. Ten percent of the city's households are considered middle-income (81-95 of MFI) and more than 50 percent are above 95 percent of MFI.



The median family income is $36,991 ($47,338 for homeowners and $30,230 for renters). Although MFI nearly doubled between 1980 and 1990, housing costs nearly tripled. This has resulted in 25 percent of homeowners and more than 40 percent of renters classified as cost burdened, which means the household spends more than 30 percent of its income on housing. The median home value in Downey was $227,300.

Housing Needs

The city estimates that 951 substandard housing units are in need of rehabilitation. The majority of these units are occupied by extremely low-income and low-income households.

Fourteen percent of the households in Downey are considered overcrowded, a 50-percent increase from 10 years ago.

Market Conditions

There are 34,302 housing units in Downey. More than half of the units are owner-occupied, single-family homes. With only a limited amount of vacant land available for residential use, the city's existing housing inventory will not increase significantly. With a good mix of home sizes, a variety of household needs can be accommodated.

The maximum affordable rents for extremely low-income and very low-income renter households are $293 and $487, respectively. With Downey's median rent currently at $649, this creates a cost burden for the majority of extremely low-income and very low-income households.

Affordable Housing Needs

The majority of extremely low-income households are renters. Two-thirds of renters in this income group have severe cost burdens, requiring more than 50 percent of their household income for housing costs. The majority of extremely low-income homeowners are elderly. A majority of low-income households are also renters.

Low-income Hispanic homeowners experience more housing problems than all other households in the city. But minority households overall have a disproportionately higher percentage of housing problems than the white population. Meanwhile, households with incomes of more than 80 percent of MFI experience cost burdens and overcrowding to a far lesser degree than other groups.

Homeless Needs

A recent count by the Downey Police Department found less than 12 homeless persons in Downey.

There are no shelters in the city. Families in need of emergency shelter can receive assistance at the Rio Hondo Temporary Home. The home provides short-term, transitional housing for a maximum of 130 persons. Services also are available for families with children. Single homeless persons can receive shelter at the Salvation Army facilities in Bell Gardens.

Other organizations, such as PTA H.E.L.P.S., the Ministerial Association, the Legal Aid Foundation, and the Fair Housing Foundation, provide food, food and housing vouchers, legal assistance, counseling, and mediation services.

Households threatened with homelessness are those with a 50 percent or more cost burden. For 2,000 households in Downey, a sudden decrease in income because of unemployment or another major disruption could make it impossible to make rent or mortgage payments.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are no Federal public housing units in the city. Los Angeles County administers programs that provide public housing for the county, including residents of the city of Downey. An agreement between the city and the county allows the county to administer the Section 8 certificates and vouchers program in the city. Currently, 455 households in Downey are receiving rent assistance, with more than 800 Downey residents on the Section 8 waiting list.

There are no private Section 8 units in the city. Birchcrest Apartments, a 62-unit complex, provides low-income housing through the Section 236 program. Clark Manor Apartments has 20 low-income apartments included in its 41-unit Caltrans Freeway Displacement Project.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Federal and State programs have made it difficult for local public and private organizations to build affordable housing units. Changes in tax laws regarding apartment construction, cutbacks in housing programs, and lack of investment in local infrastructure are viewed as barriers to creating affordable housing. The high cost of housing also is seen as a deterrent for private housing providers.

Potential flood mitigation requirements may be costly for new housing and major residential remodeling projects. New regulations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would raise new housing, short-term construction, and long-term insurance costs.

Fair Housing

Downey's Fair Housing Program is designed to mitigate discrimination in housing. The city has an agreement with the Fair Housing Foundation of Long Beach to assist in implementing the city's plan. The foundation investigates allegations of housing discrimination, educates the public as to their rights under the law, and provides assistance to persons seeking information on rental housing.

Lead-Based Paint

The use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. Approximately 75 percent of all homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint, according to estimates. In Downey 7,400 housing units may contain lead-based paint. More than 75 percent are units occupied by extremely low-income, very low-income, and low-income renters.

Other Issues

Downey estimates that there are 1,621 non-homeless persons with special needs. The elderly make up about 37 percent of this population and about 30 percent are people with alcohol and/or drug additions. The physically disabled, the frail elderly, persons with HIV/AIDS, the severely mentally ill, and the developmentally disabled also are included in this category.

The following facilities offer services that assist these persons: the Association for Retarded Citizens; Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center; Southern California Rehabilitation Service; Southern California Alcohol and Drug Programs; Easter Seals of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Inc.; Salvation Army; Rancho Los Amigos; and Assistance League of Downey.

Community Development Needs


Housing Priorities

The Consolidated Plan's objective for affordable housing over the next 5 years is to continue providing programs for affordable housing for renters, owners, and elderly households, and to maintain homeownership opportunities for low-income, first-time homebuyers. Generally, CDBG funds are allocated to extremely low- or low- and moderate-income areas. High priorities include:

Non-housing Community Development Priorities

The primary objective of the non-housing community development plan is to develop a viable urban community by providing a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, especially for very low- and low-income persons.

Some of the city's non-housing CDBG investments activities cover the entire city. General funds are used to provide services to moderate and upper-income areas, while CDBG funds provide the same services to very low- and low-income areas.

High on the list of priorities are investment in public facilities, accessibility improvements, economic development, code enforcement, lead-based paint hazard prevention, and energy-efficiency improvements. Infrastructure improvements are a medium priority and historic preservation is a low priority.

Anti-poverty Strategy

The city's assistance programs for very low- and low-income households and the homeless may help reduce poverty. The county's housing programs, particularly the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, provide a significant resource that elevates the standard of living for many households below the poverty line.

The city also operates a business retention program to retain and support existing businesses and attract new businesses to the city.

Housing and Community Development Resources

A total of $2.1 million in Federal funds will be used for Fiscal Year 1995. It is anticipated that the city may allocate Redevelopment Agency housing funds to assist the Housing Rehabilitation and the Homebuyer Assistance programs. In addition, Bank of America provides low-interest loans for the improvement of low-income housing in Downey as part of an agreement with the city.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The city will continue to coordinate its housing plans and programs with agencies so that available resources will be used most effectively. The city also will encourage ongoing dialogue and meetings among groups.

The Section 8 certificates and vouchers program is administered by the Los Angeles County Housing Authority. The city has an agreement with the Fair Housing Foundation of Long Beach to assist Downey in implementing its fair housing plan.

The Housing Division will monitor all activities carried out as part of the Consolidated Plan process. This division will track progress of activities and assess accomplishments on an annual basis. The Housing Division or the Community Services Department will function as a liaison between the city and agencies used Federal funds for housing and support services.


Description of Key Projects

There are 14 projects proposed. Key projects include:


The plan intends to maintain a balanced and healthy community by making most federally funded programs available on a citywide basis. The exception is Federal funds for code enforcement and graffiti removal activities. These activities will be targeted to areas designated as CDBG eligible or areas with low- and moderate-income populations. Otherwise, activities will be available throughout the city.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Downey's Consolidated Plan, please contact Mr. Ed Velasco, Housing Manager, at 310-904-7167.
Return to California's Consolidated Plans.