Multiple Santa Clarita senior citizens confronted the city council Tuesday night during public comment with concern about the cost of living in the valley.
Local senior Beverlee Broggie said she has been concerned about the price of her rent for about a year and wants to start a conversation among the community concerning affordable housing for seniors.
“I would just like to open up a dialogue and talk about it,” Broggie said to The Signal. “I would just like to bring it to (the city council’s) attention and see if there is any kind of a solution.”
Rent control isn’t the answer to the problem, Broggie said, because she does not think it’s probable. She said the seniors on both ends of the spectrum are fine, those in Section 8 housing and those with plenty of money, but the middle-class seniors are struggling to stay in their apartments.
“I’m not sure Santa Clarita really looks into seniors,” she said. “Today’s seniors are the people that helped build up this community. They should have some consideration for that.”
Currently, those looking for affordable housing are unable to find it because it does not exist, she said. According to Broggie, there is a problem because rents continue to climb and social security incomes are fixed.
“I love Santa Clarita and I don’t want to leave it,” Broggie said. “I’m looking for some kind of an answer or some concern.”
Merrilyn Lawson, another resident in senior housing, expressed additional concern for seniors with disabilities who cannot afford to buy other necessities after paying for rent and utilities.
“I have nothing left to buy groceries with,” Lawson said. “I have seen so many senior citizens literally die of distress. I’m not one of them, I fight.”
City Manager Ken Striplin said the city council will continue to look for ways to help seniors, especially in light of the California housing crisis. He mentioned that there is a new $4 million city-funded 29-unit affordable apartment complex on Newhall Avenue.
“The council is taking an aggressive approach to look for affordable housing solutions,” Striplin said.
Councilwoman Laurene Weste said the more she learns about the struggles seniors face, the more it troubles her. The council will have to look at more housing solutions, she said.
“Senior housing is a different scenario than everything else,” Weste said. “They are in need of protection by society. They’ve paid their dues and they deserve less stress.”
Councilman Bill Miranda said he is a proponent of helping seniors and said affordable housing is the right path to take, but said rent control is a problematic idea.
Additionally, the council supported a senate bill, opposed two senate bills and took no position on another senate bill, all of which sought to maintain local government control instead of allowing the state government to have influence in Santa Clarita.
Several citizens mentioned concern with the Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion.
Councilwoman Marsha McLean also said she wanted to reiterate concern with the added traffic because of the landfill.
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