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Agency seeks more workforce housing

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTom Ballou, a WHATT housing services director, helps a client out with paper work at the WHATT office in Truckee Wednesday.
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Truckee-Tahoe’s affordable housing group continues to grow with new members and added responsibilities.

The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe recently renewed its contract with the Town of Truckee, appointed new board members, and is seeking an upgraded status to take on new projects.

“We’ve got a good symbiotic relationship,” said David Griffith, redevelopment and housing coordinator for the town.



The Truckee Town Council, acting as the redevelopment agency board, voted on Nov. 15 to enter a second contract year with the association for $35,000, Griffith said.

“Basically we agree to maintain an office, to do community education and outreach, maintain an interest list for Truckee affordable housing, and looking for affordable housing opportunities,” said Tom Ballou, the association’s housing services director.



That interest list in low-cost housing is approaching 400 people at this point, Ballou said.

The dollar amount of the town contract is lower than last year, which included initial set-up costs not needed in this year’s narrowed terms, Ballou said.

One of the areas of cooperation between the nonprofit and the town is the creation of an inventory survey, which will canvass area employers to get a better grip on the supply and demand for affordable housing, Griffith said.

“We’ll get an idea on rental versus for sale, multi- versus single-family homes ” we really want to know the true need out there,” Griffith said.

To grow beyond its existing roles, the group is applying for status as a community housing development organization, Ballou said, which will qualify them for additional state and federal funding.

The difference in standing will allow the association to partner with the developers of upcoming projects to create new affordable units, he said.

To qualify for the new status, Ballou said one-third of the board has to represent a cross-section of the community.

Ballou said out of 12 to 15 applicants, the agency selected five new board members. Robin Lewis, Anne Grogan, Elizabeth Balmin, and Maria Sandoval, and Emilio Vaca were chosen to represent the community on the nonprofit’s board, according to an agency release.

“We were able to select the five best representatives of the community,” Ballou said. “We got people that not only represent our income levels, but also cover our organization’s entire footprint.”


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