As Sonoma County home prices soar to their highest level since 2007, one of Santa Rosa’s affordable housing projects has hit a major speed-bump. Burbank Housing’s “Catalina Project” is at risk of losing $3.8 million in state funding if a solution is not delivered before June 30th, 2015.
Burbank Housing recently received word that funding from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) BEGIN program, a program designed to provide down-payment assistance loans to qualifying first-time low- and moderate-income homebuyers, would be lost if it is not spent by the last day in June of this year.
Assemblyman Jim Wood announced today that he is going to push an emergency measure through the state legislature to address the upcoming deadline. AB 325 will mandate a 24 month extension to HCD’s BEGIN program that would allow the Santa Rosa project to continue as planned. The two year extension allows Burbank Housing to complete construction of the 60 unit affordable housing complex.
“Affordable housing is critical for our community. The prospect of losing a project of this size at this stage is unacceptable”, said Wood. “We are working to do whatever we can at the State level to see this project through, and make sure these families have an opportunity to own their first homes.”
Burbank Housing had received approval from HCD to spend the $3.8 million in question over the next 18 months until a memo from the department in March of this year rescinded that approval, and set a “use it or lose it” deadline of next month.
In a letter from the City, Santa Rosa Mayor John Sawyer said, “The financial impact would not only jeopardize the homebuyers, but Burbank’s financial viability as well. It would also likely cause significant impacts for the City of Santa Rosa and our Housing Authority…”
Elected in 2014, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Healdsburg) represents the 2nd Assembly District, which includes all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, plus northern and coastal Sonoma County, including the northern half of Santa Rosa.