The Year of the Housing Lawsuit

San Diego governmental agencies are no strangers to housing discrimination lawsuits this year.  Two separate lawsuits have been filed alleging that our government is perpetuating the concentration of poverty, largely in areas that, due to the region’s long history of segregation, are populated by people of color, including African-Americans.

The first discrimination lawsuit was filed in State court by the San Diego Tenants Union against the San Diego Housing Commission.  It alleges the Housing Commission’s policies regarding Section 8 vouchers concentrate poverty in areas where people of color live.  (The NAACP San Diego Branch has been seeking permission to join this lawsuit for two months; our National organization is promising us an answer “soon.”)

The most recent lawsuit was filed by local residents in Federal court.  It also addresses the San Diego Housing Commission’s handling of Section 8 vouchers, but throws in a grab bag of other claims, including one about the Live Well Center being slated for Southeast San Diego.

Do you have thoughts about housing in San Diego?  Want to get involved in ensuring fair access to housing for all?  Join our Housing Committee; email [email protected].

Service Opportunities

in the NAACP San Diego Branch

Executive Committee

The NAACP San Diego Branch, founded in 1919 and dedicated to the Civil Rights of all persons and eliminating race-based discrimination, is looking for leaders who would like to serve their communities through advocacy.

The full Executive Committee and Officers, plus Monica Montgomery, District 4 Councilmember

We are looking for individuals who want to inform, connect, and empower our membership, so that we are a strong, vibrant organization, run from the grass roots on up.

We expect all applicants to:

  • Be committed to the cause of Civil Rights
  • Be members of the NAACP San Diego Branch (join today)
  • Live or work in the greater San Diego area, south of the 56 Freeway
  • Have good communications and leadership skills
  • Have (or gain) familiarity with our bylaws

We are seeking people who would like to serve in the following capacities as specified in our bylaws:


ACT-SO Chair

Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Chair

Communications, Press and Publicity Chair

Community Coordination Chair

Economic Development Chair

Environment and Climate Justice Chair

Freedom Fund Chair

Labor & Industry Chair

Housing Chair

Legal Redress Chair

Membership and Life Membership Chair

Young Adult Chair

Our bylaws give the duties of each of these committees in a paragraph or so starting on page 38 (the Secretary is on page 34.) We  invite you to read the relevant section of the bylaws and then fill out a brief application form.  

We are also looking to recruit enthusiastic, outgoing people as Social Media Contributors  to take the Branch’s social media presence to the next level.

If you feel you are qualified to provide leadership in these areas, please fill out our brief application form.

We will contact everyone who applies.

Thank you for your interest in service with the NAACP San Diego Branch, and for whatever work you do, with us or with others, to help our Community thrive.

Housing is a Health Issue

Our Symposium on the intersection of Housing and Health was a rousing success. Over 80 people, drawn from activists and professionals interesting in improving health and housing, got together to discuss issues and brainstorm around solutions. We’re still digesting the results, but we do have some photos to share from the event.

Stay tuned for more information and follow-up on this event!

Housing is a Health Issue

Our Keynote Speaker

Omar Passons Esq, MPH
– Keynote Speaker –

Omar has a Master’s Degree in Public Health and evaluated public health and social service programs. Omar has spent the last decade working to stimulate and foster local businesses.  As a land use attorney, …

Health Focus

La’Toya Renea Garrett, LMFT
– Panelist –

La’Toya Renea Garrett is the founder of Anu Legacy Counseling Services, LLC which has an integrative holistic approach to wellness, acknowledging the mind, body, spirit communication throughout the human experience. …

Monica Hinton, PhD
– Panelist –

Monica Hinton, PhD has worked in Mental Health and Substance Abuse for over 20 years. She is a Behavioral Health Therapist at SHARP McDonald Center, which is a medically supervised …

Dr Samira Jones
– Panelist –

Dr. Samira Jones is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Nutrition Consultant who works with the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division. Dr. Jones is a trained dietitian …

Angela de Joseph
– Panelist –

Angela de Joseph is the writer-producer-director of State of Emergency: Tackling Black Men’s Health, a documentary that addresses the health crisis among African American men and has been embraced by …

Mary Tesfaldet
– Panelist –

Mary Tesfaldet is currently enrolled at San Diego State University, and is President of the NAACP San Diego Youth Council.

Housing Focus

Rev. Richard Lawrence
– Panelist –

The Rev. Richard Lawrence, a retired Methodist clergyman whose ministry is committed to social justice, organized and has served as the first chair of the San Diego Affordable Housing Coalition …

David Estrella
– Panelist –

Director, Housing and Community Development Services Health and Human Services Agency, County of San Diego San Diego, CA David Estrella joined the County of San Diego in 2002. He is …

Shonda Herold
– Panelist –

Shonda Herold joined the development team at Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation in 2017. She is serving as project manager on two developments, representing $53 million of investment in affordable …

Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi
– Panelist –

Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi serves as the Assistant Director of Public Service at USD Law, where she directs USD Law’s Pro Bono Program and advises students to help launch their public service …

Kathryn Rhodes
– Panelist –

Kathryn Rhodes is a Civil Engineer and Housing and Community Activist.


Got questions?  Email us!

USC Training in Real Estate Finance and Development

We came across this program at the San Diego Housing Federation’s “Housing at the Breaking Point” conference.  It looks interesting.

The Ross Minority Program was founded in 1993 for the purpose of engaging land use professionals, especially of underrepresented ethnic minority groups and women, to enter the field of real estate finance and development. We continue to provide an excellent opportunity to any and all individuals wishing to build new skills, gain valuable insight and expand their career path in real estate finance and development.

To date, over 900 land use professionals have participated and received their certificate in Real Estate Finance and Development from the Ross Minority Program.  These individuals work in a variety of positions, including: real estate practitioners, non-profit and community leaders, public sector decision makers, and entrepreneurs.

If you’d like to apply to the Ross Minority Program, here are some things you should know:

  1. Admission is open to all individuals — regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity — who would like to receive exceptional training in real estate finance and development.
  2. Admission is competitive and selective. We aim to enroll individuals who will contribute to a rich and stimulating learning environment and benefit from an accelerated program.
  3. The ideal Ross student is:
  • a creative thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit
  • familiar with real estate and the planning process
  • motivated by the risks and rewards of the real estate industry
  • able to thrive on obstacles and challenges
  • compelled to lead and succeed in his or her profession
  • creative, resourceful, and competitive
  • keenly interested in urban development

Upcoming sessions are as follows:


DATE: January 10 – February 1, 2019 (Four-week format)
LOCATION: USC Campus, Los Angeles, CA
FIRST WEEK: Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Jan 10-12
SECOND WEEK: Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Jan 17-19
THIRD WEEK: Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Jan 24-26
FOURTH WEEK: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – Jan 30-Feb 1

TIME: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm including 6 evening events to 9:00 pm




DATE: June 10 – June 21, 2019 (Two-week format)
LOCATION: USC Campus, Los Angeles, CA
FIRST WEEK: Monday to Saturday, June 10-15
SECOND WEEK: Monday to Friday, June 17-21

TIME: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm including 6 evening events to 9:00 pm


USC Campus Housing may be available at a reduced cost.


You may review the lecture topics at:


The fee for the program is $5,500. There is no application fee.

The Ross Minority Program in Real Estate is underwritten by individual and corporate sponsors who support the program’s mission and believe in improving cultural and ethnic diversity within the real estate profession. The program fee covers registration, materials, meals, networking events, evening receptions, and site visits.


A limited number of fee reduction grants are available for applicants with demonstrated financial need. A fee reduction application must be submitted with your program application.


You may access the online application process at:

USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate

174 City of San Diego HUD Contracts and Subcontracts: $73M only for White-Owned Businesses

Yesterday we sent the following letter to the City of San Diego:

Comment on CAPER Fiscal year 2018/ HUD Program year 2017


Dear Economic Development Department,


While we appreciate the work involved in producing the CAPER report, the reality that it contains is quite alarming.


The San Diego Branch of the NAACP Housing Committee has many unanswered questions about the report, far too many to note here.


However, the most glaring and distressing, in terms of what we understand as HUD regulations, is the report on Minority and Women Owned Businesses.


Table 10 indicates that of a TOTAL of 162 subcontracts awarded by the City of San Diego:
1. NONE went to minority owned businesses
2. Nine went to Women Business Enterprises
3. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE went to white  non-Hispanic males.


We would like this information to be explained in detail in the final report and we would like to understand your justification for these results.
These numbers directly contradict the spirit and letter of the purpose for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  These figures put in jeopardy future federal funds that would come from HUD to the city of San Diego.
There are many more causes for concern in the report and we will comment on those at a later time.
We look forward to the final report and welcome the chance to cooperate on some of the problems that will be ongoing for some years in the future.


Sincerely yours,
Carol Spong
Chair, Housing Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

Here is Page 15 of the report, which makes the situation abundantly clear:



Nearly $73M and not a penny to a business owned by a person of color.  Can’t believe it?  Read the full FY18 Draft CAPER Report on the City’s website.

The US Supreme Court

On July 9, 2018, President Trump announced that he would nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.  After thorough research and evaluation the NAACP opposes his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court now.

In 2005, despite the opposition of the NAACP, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a judge on the he U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  On almost every issue imaginable, Judge Kavanaugh has proven us right to have opposed him; in fact, in both his decisions and his dissents, Judge Kavanaugh has proven himself to be even more of a problematic extremist than we anticipated.  On the issue of gun violence protection, health care, workers’ rights, voting rights, affirmative action, and many more that are important to the NAACP, Brett Kavanaugh has proven that he is no friend of the NAACP.

This nomination is too important to rush.  This nomination should only be considered by the Senate elected by the American people in November, 2018, when they are fully aware of the stakes and after the 116th Congress is sworn in. The Court is meant to be an unbiased guardian of rights and liberties of all Americans.  The country desperately needs a fair-minded and independent jurist on the Supreme Court, not a divisive and biased ideologue who will further shake the public’s faith in our nation’s justice system.  The constitutional process for appointing and confirming the next justice must be thoughtful, careful, deliberative, and conducted with well-informed bipartisan support.  The Senate should not consider a nominee until a new Senate is seated next year, after the results of the midterm election are in place.  This will fully allow the American people, those who will be most affected by the confirmation, to truly have a voice in the selection of the nominee. 

 Please call both your Senators and urge them to vote “no” on this confirmation, sand to wait until January, 2019 before making such an important decision. 

 For more information as about the situation, or to find out how to contact your Senators, read the attached Action Alert.


Thank you for all you do,


July Housing Roundup

A Busy Month

July was a busy month for the Housing Committee.  We spent quite a lot of time at the San Diego City Council, tracking five important issues:

  • A $900M affordable housing bond, proposed by the San Diego Housing Federation
  • A proposal to ban discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders
  • A proposal to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel tax)
  • A proposal to build Permanent Supportive Housing in all Council districts
  • A proposal to increase the “Inclusionary Requirement,” that forces developers to include affordable housing in their developments, or pay a fee so the San Diego Housing Commission can fund affordable housing

Members of the Housing Committee were present when all these issues were discussed, advocating for more affordable housing in San Diego.  The outcomes were mixed.

The Housing Bond

The $900M housing bond would have made a substantial dent in the city’s deficit of affordable housing, at a very modest cost to the average homeowner.  Homeowners (especially white homeowners) are and have been subsidized in very many ways by our government, and a hundred or two dollars per year would not hold a candle to these subsidies.  For example, the Federal government spends twice as much per year in tax credits to homeowners (or homesellers) as it does on all housing subsidies for the poor.

Sadly, this much needed housing bond was withdrawn by its proponent, the San Diego Housing Federation, due to the Mayor’s proposal to renovate the Civic Center, which includes a half-hearted pledge to perhaps spend a little money on homelessness.

Section 8 Discrimination Ban

Councilmember Georgette Gómez brought forth a proposal to ban discrimination in housing based on source of income.  This would apply to Section 8 voucher holders and also some others, such as  homeless people who are given vouchers. We spoke in favor of this at both the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee (where it was referred to Council without recommendation, on a 2-2 vote) and at the full Council (where it passed, 7-1.)  We view this as a very positive development; Section 8 voucher holders are overwhelmingly people of color, and to denial of housing to Section 8 holders is often a simple proxy for racial discrimination.

Transient Occupancy Tax

Councilmember David Alvarez proposed a ballot initiative to raise the Hotel Tax to provide a new source of funding for the Homeless.  This increase in the hotel tax would provide approximately the same amount of funding the City of San Diego currently spends on Homeless services; we support it strongly and hope to see pass in November.  We did, however, warn the City that we would watch them closely, and see that this funding was not used to replace other monies, as is sometimes done, but would result in a net funding increase.

Permanent Supportive Housing in All Districts

Councilmember Ward made a proposal to set a goal to build 140 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) in each of our 9 Council districts.  This would yield enough units to house San Diego’s 1200 “chronically homeless” people.  The “chronically homeless” are people who are disabled, physically or mentally, to the point where they simply cannot get it sufficiently together to get or keep stable housing.  “Permanent Supportive Housing” means these folks get housing units that are not only very inexpensive, but also have other services available, such as onsite health services, caseworkers, etc.  It is truly the only way to get these folks off the streets (except for the Mayor’s method, which involves jail.)  PSH is not necessarily literally permanent; some folks do improve to the point where they no longer need supportive services; this is, however, quite rare in our red-hot real estate market.  Dr Branch served as our spokesman:

We are pleased to note that this item passed was approved by the San Diego City Council Select Committee on Homelessness and should be docketed for the full council sometime early this fall.

The Inclusionary Requirement

Housing developers are subject to an “Inclusionary Requirement,” which means they are required to include a certain percentage of affordable housing in their developments.  When the inclusionary requirement was passed 15 years ago, it was set to 10% of the units in a housing development needed to be affordable for non-affluent people.  (Developers were allowed instead to pay a fee of ~$10 per square foot instead, for the City to use to support its own affordable housing efforts; you will see this referred to as an “In Lieu” fee.  The Council has voted to revisit this requirement; the intent is to see it raised to that more affordable housing is developed.  We spoke in favor of this also.

The State of California does an assessment of housing needs in each area; for San Diego, they said our needs for 2010-2020 were:

Overall, we’ve built a little less than half of what we need to build; the shocking thing is the vast majority (85% of it) is aimed at the affluent:

We therefore support forcing developers to build more affordable housing.

Questions?  Please contact the housing committee at [email protected].