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Home / Neighborhood / Riverside County / Riverside council approves Local Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Riverside council approves Local Affordable Housing Trust Fund

by Staff
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The Riverside City Council last week approved the creation of a trust fund and plans to apply for $1.5 million in grants to spur the development of more affordable housing.

The Local Affordable Housing Trust Fund and grant funds are set aside for cities such as Riverside that have earned a “pro-housing” designation from state officials. In a 6-1 vote Tuesday evening with Councilman Chuck Conder dissenting, the council moved to create the 42nd such fund in the state, according to a city statement. 

In order to generate money for the construction of “workforce housing,” the new trust fund will get half of the future proceeds that result from the sale of city-owned properties, officials said. Riverside initially bought that land with money from the its General Fund. 

In a statement to the Riverside Independent, Conder said he voted against the new fund because he would prefer to see money generated by the sale of city properties go back into the General Fund.

The new fund enables officials to apply for as much as $1.5 million in matching housing grants from the state and federal government, according to the city.

“Riverside recognizes that affordable housing is one of the most pressing issues in our city, region and state,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement. “This approach demonstrates that Riverside is serious about exploring all ways to make housing more affordable for our residents.”

The housing fund also will serve as a repository for grants, charitable donations and other funding sources dedicated to affordable housing, officials said. Two such examples are revenue from “capital campaigns run by private sector organizations or ongoing contributions by major employers.”

In an attempt to help generate affordable homes in Riverside, the new fund will provide a sort of collateral backdrop for the city, acting as matching funds needed to get state or federal grants for the construction of new rental and condominium units, officials said. The fund will also help aid the city’s grant applications for preserving or rehabilitating multifamily rentals or condos, acquiring vacant lots and run-down properties, making emergency repairs on homes owned by the occupants and providing tenants rental assistance.

In addition, the fund will have the option of lending money to private-sector or nonprofit developers to finance affordable housing projects via “repayments of these funds creating a revolving fund that allows for future investment,” officials said. Developers who build “market-rate housing” would be able to apply for grants from the fund if they dedicate 10% of housing units for affordable rentals and 5% toward homeownership.

“The creation of the affordable housing trust fund greatly expands our ability to support those providing this much-needed resource throughout our city,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hemenway said in a statement. “It was also important to put controls in place to ensure the funds set aside will go towards its intended purpose, as well as generate the vital housing needed for our Riverside community.”

State and federal monies earmarked for low- and moderate-income households will remain unchanged “even if they are included in the Fund,” officials said.

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