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

Consolidated Plan Contact


La Mesa is a small suburban City located 15 miles from the coast. It is adjacent to the City of San Diego on the west and north, the City of El Cajon on the east and the City of Lemon Grove on the south. The land area of the City is 9 square miles and the population in 1995 is 57,000.

Action Plan

In fiscal year 1995 the City will receive a Community Development Block Grant of $636,000. This funding will be spent on housing rehabilitation, social services, and three capital improvement projects.

Citizen Participation

The City of La Mesa has a long tradition of seeking and heeding the input from its residents concerning the management and operation of the City. Evidence of this can be found in the number of boards and commissions included in the City's organization which review many City operations and provide advice to staff and the City Council. These include:

For the 1995 CDBG program year, a workshop and two public hearings were held. The purpose of the workshop and public hearings was to provide an opportunity for citizen to participate in the decision-making process for allocating the 1995 grant.


Incorporated in 1912, La Mesa has evolved into a mature suburban city. The 1990 population of La Mesa as determined by the U.S. Census is 52,931 persons, ranking it 10th among the County's 18 jurisdictions. As La Mesa has become more built out, the rate of growth has fallen below the regional growth rate.

The median age in La Mesa is 35 compared to a regional median age of 32. Approximately 20% of the population is 65 years of age or older.

There are 23,000 households in the City. Two thirds of the households in La Mesa are one or two person households. Households with five or more members equal less then 6% of the total number of households. Sixty-nine percent of all households are family households. Renter occupied households represent 50% of all households.

La Mesa is a predominantly white community, with non-Hispanic whites comprising 84.7% in 1990. Though increasing, other racial representations still comprise a very small portion of the City's population. Hispanic representation is 10%, Blacks represent 2.6% and Asians 2.7%. There are no census tracts with ethnic concentrations in La Mesa.


Housing Needs

According to the 1990 census, there were 29,025 La Mesa residents in the labor force. 58% of La Mesa residents were employed in the retail and service sectors. Jobs in the retail and service sectors traditionally pay lower wages then jobs in construction or manufacturing. Lower household wages impacts the ability of the household to secure affordable housing.

At $31,200, La Mesa's median household income is 11% less than the regional median income. In comparison to the region as a whole, La Mesa has a slightly larger share of lower income households. There are no census tract with concentrations of lower income households. In 5 census tract block groups, a smaller geographic area, lower income households are equal to 50% or more of the total households.

Housing Market Conditions

The 1990 recorded a median housing value of $164,00 for owner occupied housing. The Median rent was $552. Compared to the regional median of $188,000 and $564 respectively, La Mesa is a relatively more affordable housing market.

Affordable Housing Needs

In 1990, the Census recorded an incidence of overcrowding in 4% of the City's households. The incidence of over crowding in large, very- low income renter households is 88%. Overcrowded households reflects a situations where housing costs, over the past decade have increased faster then gains in household income.

Almost half of all renter households spend more than 30% of their household income on rent, and one in four renter households spends half of their household income on rent. Of the lower income renter households, 43% have a cost burden exceeding 30% and one in four households spend half their income on rent. Within the City of La Mesa, there are approximately 2,400 very low income renter households with a housing cost burden of 50% of their income.

Owner households are much less likely to over pay. Lending guidelines prevent households from buying more than they can afford. Less than one in four owner households pays housing costs greater than 30% of their household income.

Homeless Needs

There are relatively few homeless people living in La Mesa. Homeless assistance is not a high priority need in La Mesa.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are no public housing units in La Mesa. Assisted housing primarily refers to the Section 8 rental assistance program administered for the City of La Mesa by the Housing Authority of the County of San Diego. As of July 7, 1993, there was a total of 323 assisted units in La Mesa. This includes 180 elderly households, 113 small family households and 30 large families households. There are 967 households waiting for assistance, 132 are disabled, 200 are elderly and 635 are families. Over the past two years, the waiting list has grown by approximately 200 households.

Murray Manor is a 218 unit family housing project developed under the HUD Section 236 program. Eighty seven units are assisted through the Section-8 program and 131 are assisted under the Section 236 program.

The Springs is a 129 unit housing development for elderly and people with disabilities. All but two of the units are Section-8 assisted housing administered through the State of California..

In addition to HUD assisted housing, there are 300 units of housing "assisted" by the Department of Defense. This housing is restricted to enlisted personnel with families in pay grades E-1 to E-7. The project is fully occupied with a two year waiting list.

In 1986, a private developer completed 81 unit of senior housing on Guava Street in La Mesa. Through a development agreement with the City, all 81 units are reserved for low and moderate income seniors at rents that are affordable at these income levels.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

There are major barriers to the construction of affordable housing in Southern California. These include the cost of land, the cost of obtaining financing, the cost of construction and the cost of government regulations. The City of La Mesa development fee schedule is relatively less expensive than other part of the region. Permit processing in the City is relatively streamlined. The primary barrier to affordable housing in La Mesa is lack of vacant land suitable for development.

Fair Housing

The City contracts with Heartland Human Relations Commission to provide fair housing services in the City. The City Has agreed to affirmatively encourage fair housing practices.

Lead-Based Paint

Approximately half of La Mesa's housing stock was build prior to 1979 and therefore is at risk for lead-based paint. The City's Housing Rehabilitation Program has taken steps to implement a voluntary lead-based paint abatement program.

Other Issues

The table below presents a summary of the housing needs of people with special needs. The data presented is from the 1990 census and from agencies providing services to special needs populations.


Elderly (65+) (Persons)
Elderly - Very Low (<50% MFI)
Income Hhs
Large Families
Large Families - Low Income
Disabled, Not able to work
3,261 6.2
Female-Headed Households with Children 2,386
HIV/AIDS (Persons) +/-600 1.1
Students (Persons) 6,905 13.0
Homeless (Persons) 0 N/A

Community Development Needs

La Mesa's community development needs encompass improvements to all primary public infrastructure systems including City facilities, parks, storm drain and sanitary sewer systems and street improvements. In an effort to remain competitive, the City also has need in the area of economic development.


Vision for Change

The purpose of La Mesa's Consolidated Plan is to achieve three basic goals for its citizens:

The following section outline the City of La Mesa's five year housing and community development strategic plan. The strategy includes the priorities, programs and resources for housing, special needs populations, and capital improvements.

Housing Priorities

La Mesa's five year housing priorities include:

Non-housing Community Development Priorities

La Mesa has determined that the CDBG program is most applicable to priorities for Infrastructure Improvements and Redevelopment and Economic Development. The City Council selected three projects and assigned them top priority for CDBG funding. These priority projects are:

Priorities for Special Needs Populations

La Mesa supports approximately a dozen public service agencies that provide services to special needs populations

Anti-poverty Strategy

La Mesa participates in the Section 8 program which provides rental assistance to low income households. The Shared Housing program also provides a means for low income people to reduce their housing costs and increase their discretionary funds.

Low income families with children benefit from the child care program subsidy provided by the City.

As a small city, La Mesa's actions have little direct impact on reducing the number of poverty level families. The effects of the policies of the County, the State and the Federal governments have a much greater impact.

However, the existing housing stock in La Mesa is affordable and the City continues to support the production of new affordable housing. In addition, the City sponsors programs for special needs populations, housing rehabilitation and community development. The City has also adopted an Economic Development Strategy to define policies and programs that will retain and expand local business opportunity. This long-term project is aimed at providing a full spectrum of jobs in the community. These activities could have a positive impact on very low income families.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The City of La Mesa will utilize a variety of federal, state and local funding sources to achieve its strategic plan. Specific funding sources will be utilized based on the opportunities and constraints of each particular project or program. The following section identifies both those resources the City currently utilizes, and resources for which the City will pursue funding allocations.

Community Development Block Grant

At the present time, CDBG funds are La Mesa's primary source of discretionary Federal funding for assistance to low and moderate income households. La Mesa's CDBG allocation from HUD for the 1995/96 fiscal year is $636,000. It is hoped that over the next five years the City will receive approximately a half a million dollars annually in CDBG entitlement funds. However, the actual level of funding will change from year to year as a result of varying levels of congressional appropriation to HUD sponsored programs.

Section 8 Certificates/Vouchers

The Section 8 program represents the most direct source of assistance to the lowest income households. The average per month dollar value is $380 for certificates, $445 for vouchers and $487 for rental rehabilitation. The dollar value of the rental assistance program in La Mesa totals approximately $1.5 million. This figure includes $930,000 for certificates, $540,000 for vouchers and $105,000 for the rental rehabilitation program. These housing subsidies will continue over the next five years, although the exact number of assisted households can change due to tenant relocation outside La Mesa. As in previous years, the City will support the County's periodic applications for additional Section 8 certificates and vouchers.

HOME Program

The City does not anticipate receiving a direct Home allocation but could participate in the state's Home program.

State Resources for Housing Programs

The City of La Mesa is not currently utilizing any state housing programs, although state programs have been used in the past. State housing programs include:

Local Resources for Housing Programs

The majority of local affordable housing resources will come from two of the City's redevelopment areas, Fletcher Parkway and Alvarado Creek. There is currently approximately $780,000 accumulated in the redevelopment housing "set-aside" fund. Approximately $140,000 will accrue annually. Much of the "set-aside fund is earmarked towards the Campina Drive project, which involves the construction of lower income housing on a site in La Mesa. The City has committed housing set-aside funds totaling $450,000 over the next ten years toward the purchase of the Campina Drive property. An additional $600,000 in contributions from the housing fund is committed to the construction phase of the project.

Private Resources for Housing Programs

The City's Housing Rehabilitation Program has been working in cooperation with the Bank of America to provide funds for home repairs to lower income homeowners. The current agreement with the bank allows the City to collateralize certain bank loans, which lowers the interest rates and makes the loans more affordable. By using the City's CDBG money to fund a portion of the loans to lower income households, the City is able to stretch its CDBG resources. The Bank of America contributes the remaining portion of the loan amount and is able to receive credit for its "community investment program", part of current federal banking regulations.

General Fund

All capital improvement costs not specifically provided for by a separate funding source (e.g., the Sanitation Fund or Grant Revenues) are financed by General Fund revenues. The primary revenue sources for the General Fund are sales and property taxes. In the past, the City has had up to $500,000 per year for funding community development activities. However, in recent years, because of significant shortfalls in general revenues, there has been no general fund revenue available for community development activities.

Sanitation Fund

La Mesa adopted a monthly sewer service charge in April 1975, which became effective on July 1, 1975. Revenue generated by this charge covers the operational costs of the sewage collection system based on existing rates. Approximately $500,000 annually is expected from this source, but it can only be used for sewer-related projects.

State Transportation Program (STP)

State Transportation Program funds are distributed to urbanized areas by the State and Federal governments on a population and road mile basis. They may be used to make street improvements such as pavement widening and traffic signals on selected streets and highways which typically include the City's major streets. An approximate 20 percent match is required to use these funds, and all projects must be approved by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and be included in the Regional Transportation Improvement Program.

Transnet - 1/2 Percent Transportation Sales Tax

This revenue source was approved by the voters of San Diego County in November 1987. The additional sales tax is distributed to cities based upon a funding formula contained in the ballot measure. La Mesa is expected to receive approximately $17 million during the twenty-year life of the special tax. The majority of these funds have been committed to the Fletcher Parkway Improvement Project.

Dwelling Unit Fee (DUF)

The City collects a dwelling unit fee to be used for funding parks and recreation facilities when new single-family and multi-family residences are constructed. These fees range from $110 to $550 per residential unit based on type and size of the residences. Very little new housing development occurs in La Mesa so this funding source for park acquisition and improvement is very limited.

Other Grants

Each year the City makes application for a variety of competitive grants. Although these funds are uncertain and cannot be depended upon, they may enable the construction of projects for which other funds are not available. The following is a list of the grants which various departments have identified as possible funding sources for community development:

  1. Bicycle Lane Account (bicycle projects)
  2. SANDAG Transportation Development Projects
  3. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program

Coordination of Strategic Plan

All City departments work cooperatively to meet common City goals. The City will continue to work with various San Diego County agencies and local non-profits providers to ensure that La Mesa residents obtain all available services. La Mesa staff serves on a number of regional committees which focus on cooperative local government activities.


Description of Key Projects

The following projects are La Mesa's Key consolidated Plan projects for fiscal year 1995/96.

Mesa-Valley-Grove Senior Programs $12,000
The La Mesa Nutrition Center provides a hot meal at noon, Monday through Friday. The meals are served at the La Mesa Senior Center and at the Springs. In addition some clients receive home delivered meals.

Senior Adult Services/Meals On Wheels $9,600
Meals On Wheels delivers meals to housebound elderly and disabled.

Alzheimer's Family Center Inc. $2,000
A day care program for Alzheimer's patients.

East County Council On Aging $12,000
The Shared Housing Program matches people in need of housing with people who have housing resources.

San Diego Youth and Community Services $4,500
The East County Gatehouse provides temporary crisis shelter for adolescents.

Access Center $2,000
The Access Center provides case management, housing and employment referrals to the disabled.

Challenge Center $4,000
Physical therapy for disabled

Center for Women's Studies and Services $2,000
Services for battered women including an emergency short-term shelter and counseling services.

YMCA Child Care $5,000
A program of subsidized child care at the Vista La Mesa Elementary School. An additional grant will be made to assist in the development of a permanent facility at Vista La Mesa School.

Family Service Association $2,000
The Family Service Association will provide mental health services to low and moderate income families who reside in La Mesa.

COPS Ahead $24,000
COPS Ahead is a community oriented policing program which will focus on the neighborhood surrounding El Cajon Blvd.

Briercrest Park Project $150,000
Complete renovation of Briercrest Park to create passive recreation area which is fully assessable to disabled and construction of a physical rehabilitation facility

El Cajon Blvd. Revitalization $100,000
Revitalization of a commercial district serving a low income neighborhood including street improvements and economic development activities.

Downtown Redevelopment $75,900
Continuation of redevelopment efforts in a commercial district serving a low income neighborhood

Real Estate Rehabilitation $150,000
Continuation of the housing rehabilitation loan program with possible expansion into commercial rehabilitation.

CDBG Administration $57,000
Staff costs related to CDBG administration.

Heartland Human Relations Associations $24,000
Heartland Human Relations provides fair housing services and landlord/tenant mediation services.

Lead Agencies

The City is the lead agency for most of the programs that will implement the Consolidated Plan. The City Council is the governing body that makes the funding decisions for the programs.

Housing Goals

The City's Housing Rehabilitation Program will meet the goal of maintaining affordable housing in FY 95/96. The program provides no-cost or very low cost loans to homeowners to make repairs to their homes. The majority of the program's clients are senior citizens with few financial resources for home maintenance.

The City's housing stock is relatively affordable to lower income people. In FY 95/96 the City support for the activities of Heartland Human Relations will ensure that this affordable housing stock is available to all people.

The City's has incorporated lead hazard reduction efforts into the Housing Rehabilitation Program. These efforts will be on-going in FY 95/96.

During FY 95/96 the City will address the needs of the homeless through funding for San Diego Youth and Community Services and the Center for Women's Studies and Services. San Diego Youth and Community Services provides shelter and services for homeless youths. The Center for Women's Studies and Services provides shelter and services for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.


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 project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

The City of La Mesa Consolidated Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Program was prepared by the City's Community Development Department.

For information about the Plan or the Community Development Block Grant Program, please call (619) 667-1185.

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.