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

Consolidated Plan Contact


Just northwest of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, California, has a population of 87,000.

Action Plan

The main thrust of the city's housing and community development strategy is to ensure the availability of affordable housing while enhancing its environmental quality, using initiatives such as a Sustainable Cities Program. To implement this strategy, Santa Monica will use nearly $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $615,000 in HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) Program funds. In addition, the City contributes a significant amount from its General Fund.

Citizen Participation

Santa Monica's citizen participation process had three interacting components: community meetings, a community development needs survey, and an interdepartmental working group. The initial public hearing was held during a regularly scheduled meeting of the city council. A second public hearing enabled residents to comment on the draft Consolidated Plan before it was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The community development needs survey queried numerous residents, service providers, and city commissioners. Of more than 11,000 survey forms distributed, 774 (7 percent) were completed and returned, ranking needs in the following categories: infrastructure improvements, community facilities, community services, economic development, and housing.

The city's Interdepartmental Working Group, comprised of key staff from seven city agencies, reviewed and prioritized the needs identified in the survey and other planning studies.


The 1990 census showed that the population of Santa Monica had declined by 1,409 persons since 1980 (1.6 percent), falling to 86,905. Comparatively, the city's housing stock had increased by 1,360 units.

The city's land use regulations are guided by the overall goal of accommodating balanced growth by providing a range of allowable land uses in the city, which meet the needs of its residents, businesses, and property owners and visitors.

About three-fourths of the city's residents are non-Hispanic white persons. Hispanics comprise 14 percent of the population; Asian Americans comprise 6 percent; and African Americans comprise just over 4 percent. Three census tracts, in a downtown area commonly known as the Pico neighborhood, have significant concentrations of minority residents and concentrations of low- and moderate-income households. More than 51 percent of the residents in this area earn less than 80 percent of median family income (MFI) for the Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan statistical area.

Santa Monica's median family income was $35,997, which was only slightly higher than the countywide average of $34,965. This reflects the large percentage of households headed by seniors and those living on fixed incomes. Overall, about 23 percent of the population is extremely low- or low-income (0-50 percent of MFI); 13 percent is moderate-income (51-80 percent of MFI); 8 percent is middle-income (81-95 percent of MFI). The remaining 56 percent have incomes greater than 95 percent of MFI.


Housing Needs

Santa Monica identifies the following housing needs:

Housing Market Conditions

In 1990 the city had 47,753 dwelling units. The amount of vacant developable land is extremely limited. The city estimates that 74 remaining parcels could provide sites for only 373 housing units.

In 1992 the median price of a single-family home in Santa Monica was more than $500,000. Comparatively, the median price for similar housing in Los Angeles County was $226,400. In 1992 the average price of a two-bedroom condominium was $310,910. However, the average price of a two-bedroom condominium sold to tenants under the Tenant Ownership Rights Charter Amendments (TORCA) program was $167,295.

The TORCA amendments, adopted in 1984, enable rental units to be converted into ownership if two-thirds of the building's tenants agree to the conversion and if half intend to buy their units. Funds from a tax levied on previously converted units are used to help low- and moderate-income tenants to buy their units.

Affordable Housing Needs

The city's 5,646 extremely low-income (0-30 percent of MFI) households need the most assistance. Almost 90 percent of these are renters, and 50 percent are elderly.

Of the city's 4,624 low-income (31-50 percent of MFI) households, 78 percent experienced housing problems in 1990. Furthermore, 72 percent of these were cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing expenses.

The city's 5,774 moderate-income households also need assistance. Of these, 82 percent are renters.

The 1990 census found that an estimated 8,961 low- and moderate-income renters in Santa Monica were cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing. Renters comprise more than two-thirds of these income groups, reflecting a need for more affordable units. Although the city's rent control ordinance restricts rent increases on the pre-1979 housing stock, Santa Monica has lost 1,085 affordable rental units since 1986 because of the Ellis Act.

Homeless Needs

A 1991 study estimates that on any given night there are approximately 1,400 homeless persons in the Santa Monica and West Los Angeles area. Other estimates of the number of homeless persons range from 686 (the count from the 1990 census) to 3,600 (the estimate from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Shelter Partnerships, Inc.). The city supports a comprehensive policy that promotes a continuum of care approach.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Santa Monica Housing Authority (SMHA) administers 747 Section 8 certificates and 253 Section 8 vouchers. Among these certificates and vouchers, 627 (63 percent) are used by elderly, disabled, or handicapped households. Over 3,000 applicants appear on the SMHA Section 8 waiting list, with the typical wait being 2 years for most household types. Many of those applicants are currently unsheltered.

Five public housing projects are located in Santa Monica, and all are administered by the Housing Authority of Los Angeles County. The Santa Monica Housing Authority does not own or manage any public housing units.

Other publicly assisted housing includes 1,477 units that receive public subsidies and are classified as affordable housing.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Affordable housing may be affected by governmental policies and administration as well as various market conditions, such as construction costs, land costs, and the availability of financing.

Average multifamily development costs in Santa Monica vary from $55 to $80 per square foot and may reach $120 per square foot if underground parking is required. Single-family development costs vary from $60 to $100 per square foot. Although land costs average $80 per square foot, land between Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard costs 30 percent more than land in the Pico neighborhood.

In general, the city's zoning regulations are designed to provide affordable housing opportunities for all income groups while protecting the health and safety of residents and preserving the character and integrity of existing neighborhoods. The city's residential development standards include provisions to facilitate the development of alternative housing including transitional housing, homeless shelters, single room occupancy, and affordable housing which is deed restricted through an agreement approved by the city. In addition to these incentives, the city allows residential development in virtually all commercial zones, offering incentives such as height and floor area bonuses for providing housing.

Since the inception of rent control, there has been concern that rent control might contribute to the shortage of affordable and adequate housing rather than alleviate the shortage. However, census data show that new multifamily construction has been significantly higher in Santa Monica than in neighboring coastal cities that do not have rent control. Furthermore, a statewide survey on affordable housing ranked Santa Monica 18th among the 58 cities in Los Angeles County. These findings indicate that rent controls do not impede multifamily housing production.

Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Unit of the Office of the City Attorney administers Santa Monica's fair housing program, which is staffed by a full-time attorney, a fair housing specialist, and a bilingual community liaison. The Fair Housing Unit receives complaints on housing discrimination, lock-outs, and utility shut-offs. The city contracts with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles to provide general legal counseling and tenant-landlord counseling for low- and moderate-income households.

Lead-Based Paint

Two organizations provide lead screening for children -- the Venice Family Clinic and the Los Angeles County Health Clinic. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services reports that 11 cases of lead poisoning were documented in Santa Monica between July 1993 and December 1994.

Approximately 17,500 low- and moderate-income households live in units which may contain lead-based paint. An estimated 1,650 of these households have young children who may be threatened by lead-based paint hazards.

The city will revise its rehabilitation guidelines to incorporate lead-based paint hazard reduction procedures, such as increased per-unit subsidy limits for projects that include abatement. Santa Monica will also work with nonprofit housing providers to educate occupants and to identify potential sources of lead poisoning in city-assisted housing.

Other Issues

Housing units built before 1939 are less likely to comply with structural standards that ensure their ability to withstand a major earthquake. The city has adopted a seismic safety ordinance that requires all unreinforced masonry structures to be upgraded to withstand the maximum possible earthquake. The city has received $25 million in CDBG earthquake supplemental funding and another $4.4 million for repair and reconstruction of buildings damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Community Development Needs

The city identifies street, sidewalk, and streetscape projects that will be implemented in the Pico neighborhood, where most of the population is low- or moderate-income.

Water consumption levels are lower than those recorded in the mid-1980s because of a plumbing retrofit program. Under the city's capital improvement program, the entire water system, including cast iron water mains, will be replaced every 50 years.

Although waste disposal facilities in the city are adequate, some storms drains have insufficient capacity. During the next 5 years, the city will reduce dry weather storm drain discharges to the ocean by 60 percent. Santa Monica has also set targets for waste disposal and water usage.

Currently, 14 percent of the city's population is under the age of 18. To reduce rising school drop-out rates and the growing number of juvenile arrests and citations, the city supports a number of youth programs and services. These include school-based case management programs, employment assistance, child care assistance and expanded recreational and cultural opportunities.

During the next 5 years, the city will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to develop an open space element and park and recreation master plan. This will set short- and long-term priorities for the renovation of existing facilities and for the acquisition of open space.

Surveys of child-care needs show that demand is triple the current supply, that only 15 percent of child-care centers offer infant and toddler care, and that few centers offer care before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Other city needs include senior centers, affordable and accessible health care for low-income residents, and full integration of disabled residents into all phases of community life.

The community development needs survey assigned highest priority to providing additional youth services, followed by the need for crime awareness programs and child-care services. Under an Americans With Disabilities Act transition plan, the city identified projects that will improve accessibility in five public facilities.

Job creation was identified as the top economic development need. In addition to operating youth employment programs, the city has development agreements with major commercial projects that will provide job training, affirmative action, and placement for local residents.


Housing Priorities

Santa Monica has established 5-year objectives for the following housing priorities:

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

Santa Monica has established goals for the following community facilities:

Community services priorities include: services for children and at-risk youth; various services for low- and moderate-income residents; accessibility improvements for the physically disabled; and economic development, such as job training, business attraction and retention, and support of four farmers markets.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The 1990 census showed that over 9 percent of the city's population lived in poverty. About 15 percent of female-headed households had incomes below the poverty level, and the majority (84 percent) of these households had children under 18 years of age.

The city's antipoverty strategy is to provide 31 nonprofit human service and housing development organizations with more than $6 million annually, including local and Federal funds. These organizations offer over 54 programs that meet the needs of numerous populations.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Public agencies as well as for-profit and nonprofit organizations help to provide affordable housing and community services. Five key commissions of interested citizens monitor the needs of specific population groups and advise the city council on addressing these needs. City staff support the citizens on these commissions and oversee implementation of programs adopted by the council. Agencies involved in this activity include the Housing and Redevelopment, and Economic Development divisions of the Resource Management Department and the Human Services Division of the Community and Cultural Services Department.

Santa Monica's annual funding process coordinates social service delivery and housing production and rehabilitation enacted by nonprofit agencies. The city council reviews proposed projects and programs, funding those that fulfill city goals. Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition (WSHC) coordinates with organizations that provide emergency shelter, affordable housing, and supportive services.


Description of Key Projects

In Fiscal Year 1995-1996, Santa Monica plans to enact 14 projects, using nearly $1.7 million in CDBG funds and $615,000 in HOME funds. Six of the first-year projects are targeted for the low- and moderate-income tracts in the Pico neighborhood. The city's planned projects include:


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 Santa Monica's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Julie Johnson
CDBG Coordinator
1685 Main Street, Room 212
Santa Monica, California 90401

Phone: 310-458-8704

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.