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Hail National City Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Apr 14 2012 12:00 PM

The National City City Council recently received praise at a council meeting from a local nonprofit for excelling in providing affordable housing to residents.

The 2012 San Diego Regional Quality of Life Dashboard is an annual publication put out by Equinox Center and uses empirical research to track the county’s progress, city by city, in specific areas.

National City ranked first in affordable housing against 17 other cities in the region, including unincorporated areas.

The findings were a result of the company’s 2011 data, ranking cities on 14 quality of life indicators including water consumption, land and energy use, affordable housing, climate change, air quality and waste.

Equinox Communications Director Emma Leggat said that best practices include examples of smart leadership and policymaking to improve quality of life for the city and residents. She said National City has shown leadership in affordable housing.

Housing affordability affects transportation patterns, meaning when there isn’t enough in core areas, people move to less expensive areas, often farther away from jobs and services which results in higher vehicle miles traveled.

Leggat said that while the high cost of living is a troubling trend in the county, National City is doing its part to help out residents by creating plenty of affordable housing.

“Well over half of all San Diego households are spending more than one-third of their income on housing, placing them at financial risk,” Leggat said. “Every indicator is linked and affordable housing has a cascade (effect) on all the other ones.”

National City jumped from 40 units per 1,000 households under the median income in 2009 to nearly 250 units in 2010.

“While we’re great on affordable housing numbers … we also have a housing imbalance in other areas, 67 percent are rental and 33 percent are owned,” National City Mayor Ron Morrison said.

Paradise Creek is a future project with transit-oriented development and 201 units of affordable housing.

“The City Council through their leadership has shown support for a project on the west side,” city Community Development Manager Alfredo Ybarra said. “The Paradise Creek project will have a big impact on the community with economic stimulus and affordable housing.”

Ybarra manages the housing and grants division, which oversees all affordable housing programs and projects and manages funds to create affordable housing opportunities.

National City’s Section 8 program has given 1,044 housing voucher certificates to provide rental assistance for households with low income, said Ybarra.

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