Ventura County Housing Trust Fund Gaining Legs

Jun 27 - admin

Hired in March, 2010, as the new Executive Director of the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund (HTF), it is a great honor for me to help take the HTF to the next level.  Being involved in the HTF’s organizing committee for a period of time, I am well aware of the amazing dedication and commitment of the committee members to the formation of the HTF.   For the past eleven years, I have been an affordable housing consultant working with Housing Authorities, non-profit developers, financial institutions, and grassroots lobbying organizations focused on the development and financing of affordable housing.  In addition, I have years of experience as a housing and finance lobbyist in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.  I look forward to working with all of you to make the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund successful.

After years of dedicated support, Board of Supervisors Kathy Long and Steve Bennett introduced a proposal calling for a dedication of funds for the HTF of $500,000 for matching.  An aggressive letter, email, and telephone outreach campaign was orchestrated by our supporters, and individuals spoke at the BOS meeting on April 6.  The proposal passed.  We give a very big thank you to BOS Long and Bennett for stepping up and showing their commitment to the residence of Ventura County.

At the State level, Assemblymember Audra Strickland’s bill AB 1865 to lower the threshold to $500,000 for new housing trust funds applying for Proposition 1C funds, continued to move through the legislature.  On April 14, I testified in Sacramento at the Assembly Housing Committee hearing on AB 1865 and provided testimony on the importance of reducing the threshold for new housing trust funds.  The bill passed with full support of the Committee.      AB 1865 is on the consent calendar for the Senate Housing Committee hearing on June 15.  We expect the bill to move smoothly out of the Committee to Senate Appropriation.  If all goes well, the bill should make it to the Governor’s desk after the summer break.  If AB 1865 is signed into law it will shorten the timeframe in which Prop. 1C money could actually be deployed to help build units; which would create construction jobs and stimulate the economy.

To support our case for a well funded HTF in Ventura County, a feasibility study is being done to determine what the expected project flow will be in the County over the next 3-5 years.  Meetings are taking place with Housing Staff at each of the cities to garner pipeline information.   And, conversations with Development Directors at many of the affordable housing developers working in Ventura County are also underway.   Finally, outreach is taking place to secure grants and/or financial commitments from cities, developers, financial institutions, and others to raise additional matching funds.  If we can raise an additional $500,000 by early 2011, the HTF can apply for the matching Prop 1C funds at the $1m level.

HOME’s ongoing support, suggestions, and commitment are very important to the success of the HTF.  If you have questions or suggestions for the HTF please feel free to contact me at 805-407-2455 or LBAssociates@aol.com .
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