Prop 1 aims to assist affordable housing crisis in California | SierraSun.com

Prop 1 aims to assist affordable housing crisis in California

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Proposition 1, a ballot measure that aims to combat California's housing crisis with a large focus on veteran housing, will be on the ballot in November and will provide $4 billion towards low-income housing if approved.

"The funding goes to several different programs," said Chris Mertens, government affairs director for the Sierra Business Council. "Some of the programs give loans or grants directly towards first time homebuyers. Others give the funding to counties or local governments and housing development organizations."

The measure would provide $1 billion toward loans for veterans to purchase homes, and $1.5 billion towards rental housing for those with less than 60 percent of the median household in the area, around $73,500 in Nevada County and $80,100 in Placer County, according to a report by the Mountain Housing Council.

The remaining funds would bring $150 million to local governments and developers for housing projects near transit locations, $150 million for loans for low and moderate income homebuyers and $300 million for mortgage assistance, development of multiple home ownership units and manufactured homes.

A 2016 Tahoe Truckee Housing Needs Assessment reported 65 percent of homes in the area are vacant, mainly used for vacation homes, and that 58.6 percent of the local employees commute into town. It also reported that the median home price in 2015 was $538,000 and estimated the maximum home price considered as "affordable" to a four-person lower-income household is $235,000. Currently, the average household income in North Lake Tahoe is $67,000, which means many residents could qualify for funds from Prop 1.

While Truckee and other jurisdictions in the area must apply for the money, Mertens said the region has been fairly successful in the past.

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"Most of the funding would be distributed through competitive grant process," he said. "Our region has competed pretty well for similar grant funded programs."

"Truckee is a high priority area," said Steve Frisch, president of the Sierra Business Council.

Frisch said multiple locations in Truckee have qualified for a low income tax credit, administered by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, including the affordable housing project at the Truckee Railyard and Coburn Crossing.

Across the state, the funds would provide annual subsidies for up to 30,000 multi-family households, down payment assistance to roughly 15,000 homebuyers and home loans to about 3,000 veterans, according to a report by the Legislative Analyst Office.

The annual interest on the bonds would cost the state $170 million per year over 35 years for a total of $5.95 billion.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.