Truckee residents priced out of federal home grant assistance
Truckee residents looking for extra help from federal grants to buy a home in town will be out of luck.
Federal down payment money has an income threshold that is so low it may be almost useless in Truckee’s housing market, unlike more flexible state grants the Town of Truckee has received to boost home ownership among the workforce.
The $200,000 for down payment assistance that the town was awarded as part of a $3.6 million federal grant is available to households making 80 percent of the county’s median income or less. That income limit is calculated as $50,900 for a family of four. A household earning that income can’t buy into the Truckee housing market unless aided by subsidies.
The rest of the $3.6 million will go toward subsidizing the construction of 92 apartments for employees at Gray’s Crossing.
The Town of Truckee will have to give the $200,000 back if it doesn’t use it, said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.
But the problem Truckee is having with income requirements restricted to residents who are priced out of the home-buying picture is a statewide phenomenon, Lashbrook said.
“Almost everywhere in California is having that problem,” he said.
Lashbrook said he hopes the town can at least use the money for families looking for help in purchasing a mobile home.
Stephan Daues, a project manager with affordable housing developer Mercy Housing, said the inflexibility of federal funding has forced several communities to hand their down payment assistance money back to the federal government even though the dollars are desperately needed.
“I know there are other communities that have faced this challenge and sent the money back,” he said.
Mercy Housing often combines private and public sector subsidies to get low-income families into a home, he said.
“In our case we are often meshing together various kinds of down payment assistance,” Daues said.
As in Truckee, other communities are also faced with a county median income that doesn’t reflect an individual community’s wages, Daues said.
Truckee, which has overall incomes that are higher than much of Nevada County, is still ruled by the county’s median income for affordable housing programs.
Truckee will likely have better luck with CalHome down payment assistance grants, Lashbrook said.
Those funds, made available through California Proposition 46, are applicable to households making up to 120 percent of the median income.
The town so far has received $330,000 to help families buy into Stoneridge, a townhome project near downtown. The town is asking the state for an additional $900,000 to use with Spring Creek, an affordable housing development that will be built north of the Pioneer Commerce Center.
Add all of the grants up, and the Town of Truckee has had a successful year pursuing housing subsidies, Lashbrook said.
“If we get [the Spring Creek grant] we will be over the $6 million mark in affordable housing grants,” he said.
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