Santa Monica

Councilmember Kevin McKeown


Current economic disruptions aside, we historically have had two big affordable housing challenges in Santa Monica: retaining the limited affordable housing we still have, and creating new affordable housing.

Changes in state law in the 1990s altered Santa Monica’s original 1979 rent control.  New tenants moving into voluntarily vacated apartments now pay full market rent, and in just more than a decade under this new state law we have lost well over eighteen thousand formerly affordable units.

Santa Monica builds new deed-restricted affordable housing, and converts existing apartment buildings to permanent affordability, through our non-profit affordable housing developer Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM) and other non-profits.


Even when we had access to redevelopment money, leveraging it with state and federal funds, we were still unable to keep up with the loss of affordability.  I led our CIty Council to pass a law mandating on-site affordable housing in almost all market-driven new residential zone multi-family projects.

No longer will developers be allowed to demolish rent-controlled apartments  without replacing at least

Former City Manager Lamont Ewell, Councilmembers Shriver and McKeown, and CCSM Board Chair Patricia Hoffman, at the groundbreaking for a tropical-themed affordable housing project.

some of the lost affordable housing.  Our new law eliminates in most cases the cheap "in-lieu" fees developers previously could pay to make a token gesture toward our affordable housing needs. 

Award-winning CCSM affordable housing at 502 Colorado Avenue

(Don’t forget that any TV set graphic on my website links to a video!)

Many years ago I fought hard (and successfully!) to more than quadruple the amount of redevelopment money our city would commit to creating truly affordable housing.

If you need subsidized affordable housing:

Santa Monica Housing Authority

Community Corporation of Santa Monica

Instead, real housing units affordable to specified income brackets must be built on site, as part of the market-rate project.  These “inclusionary” units will help our Council meet the strict 30%-affordable mandate voters gave the City with Prop. R, passed in 1990.

2010 Humanitarian Award for helping to create sober housing

Then, our Governor and State Legislature pulled the plug on redevelopment funds for local communities, putting our housing plans in disarray.  We now must fend for ourselves, finding ways to make housing affordable and accessible.

We have recently adjusted rent levels and income qualifications on deed-restricted affordable housing to make sure we’re producing the right-sized units at the right affordability levels for our residents in need.  Now, having successfully defined truly affordable housing, we must find a way to fund it.

I’m honored by, and grateful for, your support in electing me six times!

I feel we should fight harder to create revenue.  Commercial developers must pay for their housing impacts. In 2014, the Council rolled over yet again for developers on housing fees.