Ventura County Housing Trust Fund updates Council on progress

March 13, 2013
Santa Paula City Council

The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund (VCHTF) updated the City Council on its progress on providing the funds for affordable housing at the March 4 meeting.

Former Santa Paula Mayor Mary Ann Krause, chair of the countywide housing group, said, “We wanted to put some context to what we do,” and noted the housing market, including affordable housing, is a regional issue. “We’re on the speaking circuit right now,” noted Krause, and as the city is a VCHTF partner she said it was time for an update.

VCHTF CEO Linda Braunschweiger told the council the nonprofit housing group is “committed to filling funding gaps in projects that create new affordable housing” through various programs. 

Last year the trust fund became a nonprofit and held its first fundraiser. A $2 million grant from the state must be matched, and the group still has about $900,000 to go. It has banked funding from the county and partner cities, raised money through public, private and charitable grants, and in 2012 issued its first notice of funding availability, $750,000.

One of the applicants for the funding is the Santa Paula Housing Authority, and Braunschweiger said the decision will be made in March.

The group’s second notice of funding availability will be released in the spring. The funds can be grants or loans dedicated to either new construction or to the acquisition of existing properties for conversion to affordable housing. Such funding, said Braunschweiger, is used for different layers required of projects and not to fund complete developments. 

The group “must raise $900,000 more to fully leverage the $2 million state matching grant,” and those who approach the city about development, whether profit or nonprofit, should be encouraged to examine the VCHTF revolving loan fund. “It meant a lot to us,” noted Braunschweiger, that “Santa Paula stepped up early and realized the needs” of those requiring affordable housing.

When Councilman Bob Gonzales asked Braunschweiger who the group’s partners are, she noted that Camarillo, Ventura, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks and the County of Ventura as well as private companies, financial institutions, the state and private donors are supporters. And the other Ventura County cities not yet partners in the housing trust fund are being approached. 

According to its website, the mission of the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund is to “support more housing choices, by generating and leveraging financial resources, working in partnership with the public, private, and non-profit sectors throughout Ventura County.”

Funds will be used in combination with a variety of other funding sources to help create new housing units, including affordable rental housing for low and moderate income residents of Ventura County, with funding priority for veterans, homeless individuals and families, transitional youth and farm workers. The organization also offers home ownership assistance to first time homebuyers.

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