Del Mar extends grants one year to rental assistance program

Del Mar Civic Center
(Karen Billing)

City seeks new living accommodations for tenants who would no longer receive benefits


Del Mar City Council members extended the deadline to discontinue a rental assistance program for another year during a May 2 meeting, buying more time to find alternative accommodations for four tenants who still benefit from the program.

Last fall, council members talked about ending the program because they couldn’t sustain the funding. The program costs $94,400 per year, compared to about $25,000 per year in revenue that can support it, according to city officials.

“Taking into consideration what the current fund balance is and the cost of the program, we were anticipating that we would basically have exhausted all of our housing assistance reserves by 2024 and we would start having to tap into the general fund,” City Manager Ashley Jones said.

The program is managed by Del Mar Community Connections.

“The idea of terminating the program a year from now would be an expedient solution, but not an adequate one,” Terry Kopanski, a member of DMCC’s board of directors, said during public comment. “Any solution really needs to include providing for these residents to remain in their homes until a suitable alternative can be found.”

Kopanski has previously said that it’s unlikely that the program would continue without the usual funding from the city.

The identities of the four tenants are kept confidential by the program administrators. Del Mar resident David Ralph said during public comment that he’s lived in Del Mar for 20 years, including the last 10 with help from the rental assistance program.

“Having to leave my home would completely break my heart,” said Ralph, who mentioned a garden he’s been working on for 15 years. “I’ve lived there a long time.”

The city has consulted a county social worker to help find other housing arrangements for the four tenants who would be displaced by the program’s demise, but nothing has been found yet.

“It’s not ending next month,” Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said. “Those four people can take a deep breath, and they’re good until June 2023. There are a lot of other things we need to figure out, and we have the time to do it.”