Del Mar to phase out rental subsidy program

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Over the next few years, Del Mar will phase out a rental assistance program that provides rent subsidies to four city tenants.

The program costs $94,400 per year, compared to about $25,000 per year in revenue that the city can allocate for it, according to city officials. At that rate, they expect the funding will run out by 2025. The City Council discussed the program, which is managed by Del Mar Community Connections, and how to handle the phase out during its Sept. 7 meeting.

The key issue is how to connect the four tenants who benefit from the program with new affordable units, possibly in new cities, and how long that process might take.

Interim City Manager Ashley Jones said the city would help them with a “smooth transition,” which could include enlisting a social worker to help the tenants find other subsidies in potentially new locations. She said the city will have a report on the status of those transitions by June, which marks the end of the current fiscal year.

But Terry Kopanski, a member of DMCC’s board of directors, said during public comment that “it feels like we’re pulling the rug out from under them.”

“We have four Del Mar residents who are extremely vulnerable, and I don’t want to go into detail because of our confidentiality,” he said. “These are people who have been dependent on these subsidies for long periods of time.”

One of the tenants has lived in Del Mar for about 20 years, Kopanski said, and two others about 10 years each. He added that DMCC is unlikely to pursue federal funding or other sources of revenue to keep the program going.

“We do this program to administer a program for the city, so it’s unlikely we would continue this program in any other form if we don’t get funding from the city,” he said.

Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden also said he doesn’t want any of the four tenants “to be forcibly displaced from Del Mar.”

“I’m in favor of all these recommendations, but I’m not willing to leave some real people behind with no option,” he said.

Del Mar City Councilman Dave Druker first mentioned the possibility of finding a social worker or some type of service to help “figure out a plan” for each person.

“Maybe through county services or something like that we can find somebody who can help with the landing for these people, and come up with a program for each person,” he said.