SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica recently expanded an affordable housing pilot program for low income seniors. The program, Preserving Our Diversity (POD), began in 2017, which subsidized rent for 21 seniors living in rent controlled apartments with a budget of $200,000. The program has expanded to provide $2 million directly to 248-436 seniors. 

“The Preserving Our Diversity Program maintains the dignity of our seniors who quietly struggle with rent, food, and housing insecurity,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “By adding hundreds of long-time senior residents to the program, we will make a dent in the affordability crisis that often requires seniors to choose between paying rent or medical bills and even raises the specter of homelessness.”

Along with rent subsidies, the program aims to support low income, long term resident seniors by helping them with food, medical care and transportation. The Housing Commission will review the program to determine the effectiveness of the initiative as an affordable housing strategy, along with any issues to consider before any further expansion. 

Low-income residents of Santa Monica who are 65 or older are eligible to apply. They can start applying as early as Winter 2020. The program is restricted to 1 to 2 people per households, households greater than 2 are ineligible. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout 2020.