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Originally published in the Sierra Sun

by Hannah Jones

Placer County is moving forward with establishing a private trust to fund affordable housing projects.

“The idea is to provide gap funding to affordable builders with real projects,” Jeff Short, legislative advocate for the North State Building Industry Association, told Placer County supervisors last week.

The county currently manages a public housing trust, supported by developer fees that fund a variety of affordable housing projects and existing housing programs. This trust would not be a county entity and would allow more opportunities for donations from the public or other organizations.

“The benefit of doing it this way is the collaborative funding that it would receive from a wide variety of sources,” said Short. “There are a variety of people and organizations interested in helping to provide affordable housing so this could serve as a landing area for them to contribute.”

“Obviously we need to raise a lot of funds to get housing done in this county and it has to be a public private partnership.”— Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson

Any county funds that are deposited in the trust would be earmarked for affordable housing in the unincorporated area of Placer County.

Short said a name has been created for the trust, “Housing Trust Placer,” and have reserved the name with the secretary of state. In order to keep the name they must form the trust by the end of the year. They have already identified initial board members but must hire an executive director of the trust. Additionally the legal documents and bylaws for the trust are already being drafted.

County staff will come back to the board early next year with a funds management agreement with the trust.

According to a Mountain Housing Council study, eastern Placer County needs 1,560 units to accommodate residents in the very low and extremely low income bracket. Additionally, another 250 moderate income units and 614 upper-middle income units are needed.

In August, county staff began working on the creation of a new private housing trust to close an expected funding gap to build the affordable homes needed in the county over the next 20 years.

“Obviously we need to raise a lot of funds to get housing done in this county and it has to be a public private partnership,” said Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

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

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