Affordable housing group steers new direction
The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe is expanding to broaden the scope of affordable housing in the Truckee-Tahoe area.
In an attempt to qualify for more state and federal funding and to partner with local developments, the nonprofit is seeking a new status as a community housing development organization.
The new designation would mean the agency can become more involved in affordable housing projects, but requires a new board of directors that represents a broader cross-section of the community.
“The designation requires a broad make-up not exceeding a particular income level,” said Housing Services Director Tom Ballou. “We are looking for applicants from the community.”
By meeting the criteria for its new status, Ballou said doors will open to different sources of funding that the nonprofit could use to offset the cost of building affordable housing in local partnerships.
“It’s the same cost to build affordable housing as regular projects, but you can’t charge as much,” Ballou said. “That makes our participation in development more attractive to developers.”
Truckee Redevelopment and Housing Coordinator David Griffith said the housing agency’s new status will create more opportunities in the area for affordable housing.
“Any additional resources would be a huge advantage for the town,” Griffith said.
Ballou said the nonprofit wants to secure its new status before creating any partnerships, so none has yet been identified.
“We want to make the change as soon as possible,” Ballou said. “We just need people interested in affordable housing to help support and direct our efforts.”
The association underwent a significant change once before as it grew, in 2005 shifting from an affordable housing advocacy group to an affordable housing development partner, coordinator and steward, according to a 2005 interview.
To better understand the need for affordable housing in the area, the association is working with the Town of Truckee and other partners to conduct a community survey.
“We want to track not just a census tally, but the actual needs ” how many earn this much, do they rent or own, what can they afford ” a very detailed survey of the area to assess the true housing needs,” Ballou said. “That way when developers approach the town, the town can say, ‘this is what we need’ for affordable housing.”
Griffith said other partners include the Sierra Business Council and the Placer County Redevelopment Agency, so the survey will assess the regional housing inventory and needs.
“The town looks forward to utilizing the inventory ” we can use it to determine what level of affordability a project should be, numbers, and the type ” either for rent or for sale,” Griffith said.
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