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Housing trust fund bill headed to Senate
May 30, 2013, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Rich Gordon

A bill preventing millions of unspent dollars used by local housing trust funds to create affordable units from being swept into a state program is headed to the state Senate after facing only one opponent in the Assembly on Tuesday.

The bill by Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, cleared the Assembly 76-1, far exceeding the two-thirds vote requirement of the urgency clause. If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately which Gordon and supporters say is necessary to prevent the funds from being transferred to CalHOME in November while awaiting the traditional new year start date of legislation.

The bill seeks to give existing local housing trust funds access to $8.8 million set aside for establishing new funds but not yet spent. While CalHOME would still use the money for the same goal of affordable housing, Gordon told the Daily Journal previously it does not leverage the funds the way local entities like the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust of San Mateo County do.

Gordon said the recession and dissolution of redevelopment agencies only exacerbated housing concerns which is why keeping the funds is so critical.

“Maximizing and leveraging existing funds to meet housing needs across the state will help ensure housing is available to thousands of Californians,” Gordon said in a prepared statement.

The money in question stems from Proposition 1C which California voters passed in 2006 to provide more than $2 billion in bonds for the development of affordable and emergency housing. A portion went to existing housing funds, like HEART, but the number of new funds anticipated to use the other piece never transpired.

Officials with HEART and the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley approached Gordon for help in accessing the money in large part because he was one of HEART’s founders in 2003 while a San Mateo County supervisor.

In San Mateo County, HEART has invested $9.9 million to construct affordable housing and administer first-time home buyer programs.

HEART leverages its funds 22 to 1 using matching grants from private investors like Genentech and community partners like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. HEART reports to date 825 affordable units have been funded in addition to the group helping first-time buyers.



Tags: housing, funds, gordon, heart, affordable, trust,

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