San Marcos Workforce Housing Task Force, formed in September 2018 as part of the city’s push to remedy a lack of affordable housing, is now focused on gathering community input on a draft of its action plan.
Laura Dupont, the chair of the task force, says it has not been easy getting all the neighborhoods in the city to embrace the action plan, which is expected to be presented to the City Council in October. One of the major challenges, Dupont said, has been centered around debate over whether the action plan benefits renters or homeowners.
“There has got to be an all-in by the community,” said Dupont, who in addition to sitting on the task force serves as senior vice president at Corridor Title Co. “There has got to be political bravery on our elected officials’ part, because people are resistant to change.”
In addition to the workforce housing task force, San Marcos has also commissioned three council members—Lisa Prewitt, Melissa Derrick and Saul Gonzales—to serve on the council’s workforce housing committee.
Mayor Jane Hughson, who mentioned workforce development as a goal in her State of San Marcos address July 31, said she has “great confidence” in the task force and the City Council committee.
“Given the composition of our community and the income levels, we have a huge need for housing that people can afford,” Hughson said.
Much of the data being used by the task force stems from a 2019 housing study conducted by Root Policy Research, which reported that more than 65% of renters and about 27% of the residents with mortgages in San Marcos were “cost-burdened,” meaning that more than 30% of their income went toward housing.
The housing assessment also found that 72% of residents in the city were renters, while 28% were homeowners.