To illustrate my investigation last month on the escalating cost of building affordable housing, I teamed up with our media partners NBC 7 San Diego to explain some of the reasons why costs have been rising.

We enlisted the help of a couple of young athletes from Patrick Henry High School, who helped us illustrate our theme: the hurdles to creating affordable housing.

Here’s the video:

View more videos at:

I also used the chance to expand on a point that affordable housing developers and other sources have convinced me wasn’t given enough play in my original story.

One of the significant factors pushing up the cost of developing affordable housing is the amount of work that often needs to be done to a piece of land just to get it into a condition suitable to build on.

I touched on that in my story, mentioning that affordable housing projects often take advantage of pieces of land that have been overlooked by private developers.

But some of my sources didn’t think my story gave that point justice. So I’ve expanded on it in the NBC piece, which points out that the Mercado del Barrio project, for example, will require $7 million to be spent just to get the land ready. That’s because the site has a number of problems like contamination issues and sewer lines that have to be moved, all of which cost money to fix.

Please contact Will Carless directly at or at 619.550.5670 and follow him on Twitter:

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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