Black Families Rent-Burdened in San Diego

October 28, 2021


Re: San Diego Elected Officials Pretend to Care About Black Families Being Rent Burdened—While Their Housing Commission Segregates the City

Mayor Todd Gloria claimed to be “infuriated” by the results of a study just released showing that Black families in San Diego are severely rent burdened. Yet, the NAACP San Diego Branch’s pending lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission details the extent to which City-wide policies perpetuate racial segregation and cause rent burdens.

The NAACP San Diego Branch and San Diego Tenant Union are continuing their lawsuit against the agency to stop it from administering the region’s largest housing program in a manner that unlawfully discriminates and perpetuates discrimination.

“As detailed in our lawsuit, SDHC must increase vouchers immediately to stop perpetuating racial segregation and to allow families with Section 8 to access available rental units in low-poverty, white neighborhoods with greater opportunities and high performing schools,” states Francine Maxwell, President of the San Diego Branch of the NAACP, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization. “The lawsuit alleges that Black households are seven times more likely to be harmed by SDHC’s voucher policy as white households.”

Regarding SDHC’s harmful rent burden policy, the lawsuit filed by poverty attorney Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi states that SDHC causes families to pay 50 percent of their income towards rent if they wish to live in a low-poverty, predominantly white neighborhood. This is because SDHC sets the voucher amount so much further below what it costs to rent a unit in these areas than in other areas of the City. 

The lawsuit alleges SDHC policies impose a severe, if not impossible, housing cost burden on low-income families, despite SDHC knowing that federal best practices identify families that pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent as rent burdened and in an unstable housing situation. Paying 50 percent of one’s income towards rent results in housing instability, and an increased risk of eviction, particularly for low-income families and individuals on a fixed-income.

The lawsuit states that SDHC’s own data illustrates how SDHC intentionally discriminates and perpetuates segregation in the City of San Diego. In response, SDHC argued that the lawsuit was not brought “solely in the public interest” because segregation only harms non-white Section 8 recipients, not the general public.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch


Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Esq.
(619) 991-9517


If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit

PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195

(619) 431-1633 Phone/Text

Celebrating 102 years of civil rights advocacy in San Diego

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