Housing Help for Residents in High Cost Counties

New program available in Alameda, Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties

July 12, 2002

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Housing Finance Agency (CHFA) announced recently that 10 city and county government agencies have been awarded more than $10.2 million in HELP loans to provide affordable housing for low income families. "Housing Enabled by Local Partnerships" (HELP) is an innovative CHFA program developed to foster partnerships between the private and public sectors.

"These funds will help communities provide housing for families, the disabled and senior citizens in need," says CHFA Director Theresa Parker. "The HELP program is a great partnership between the State and local governments. HELP assists local communities determine and pursue the projects that will help their areas most."

CHFA uses a competitive process to award loans with a 3 percent interest rate to fund affordable local housing activities. Launched in CHFA's 1998/99 fiscal year, the HELP Program entails a five-year, $100 million overall commitment. Communities receiving the funds project they will build more than 1,100 affordable housing units.

Recipients of this funding cycle include: City of Wasco, City of Bakersfield Redevelopment Agency, Placer County Redevelopment Agency, County of El Dorado, City of Kerman, City of San Fernando, Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Union City, City of Santa Ana Community Development Agency, Housing Authority of the City of Benicia and Marin County Community Development Agency.

HELP funds must be used to directly provide affordable housing units that remain affordable for at least 10 years and are used for a variety of projects such as single family homeownership development programs, and senior and multifamily rental housing. Monies may not be used for technical assistance or administrative costs.

The program usually offers two funding cycles of $10 million in the fall and spring of each year. Recipients of this semi-annual award are limited to no more than $2 million per proposal and are evaluated on six criteria: affordability, cost efficiency, maximization of benefits, implementation readiness, resource impact and comprehensiveness of services/design. Since inception, CHFA has awarded $80 million in HELP loans to create affordable housing for Californians.

A more detailed description of program commitments, project descriptions and projected numbers of affordable units is attached. Additional information can be found by linking to the CHFA Web site at www.chfa.ca.gov or by contacting Program Manager Doug Smoot at 916-322-1325.

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