Local Housing Trust Fund: Creating Long-Term Financing Solutions for the Region

The lack of affordable housing impacts every part of Monterey County, which is why municipalities are increasingly embracing ways to address the challenges together.

And a new financial program provided by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development is gaining the support of a growing number of regional leaders, including MBEP members the County of Monterey, City of Salinas, City of Gonzales, and City of Pacific Grove.

Funding for the Local Housing Trust Funds program comes from State Proposition 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act, which MBEP supported.

In December 2019, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership brought the idea to Monterey County leadership of creating a new entity that would allow the region to leverage this new funding opportunity and create a new long-term financing vehicle. This new Regional Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) would complement the Monterey Bay Housing Trust (MBHT), which provides short-term loans, addressing the need for more long-term financing that is missing in the region.

“The state will match dollar for dollar what we are able to raise locally in long-term funds,” said MBEP Housing Program Manager Matt Huerta. “We’re trying to come up with the maximum allowed at this time, which would be $5 million of local commitment, so we can get the most impact for our region.”

MBEP has helped facilitate several recent actions toward the goal of launching this new regional housing trust fund.

  • In June, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved up to $1 million in new funding for the RHTF. Of that, $365,000 will be reallocated from its $500,000 Monterey Bay Housing Trust commitment.
  • That same month, the City of Salinas approved reallocating $200,000 of its $500,000 Monterey Bay Housing Trust commitment to help establish the RHTF. The City also approved allocating portions of its new Permanent Local Housing Allocation (SB-2 funding from recorder’s fees) over the next few years and dedicated administrative support to this new fund.
  • This month, the City of Gonzales will reallocate $71,000 of its Monterey Bay Housing Trust commitment to the new long-term RHTF.

One project slated for funding from the new Regional Housing Trust Fund is the proposed farmworker housing development now working its way through the entitlement process, said Huerta. EAH Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit organization, acquired 11 acres of land in Greenfield last year with plans to build 222 units of permanently affordable, year-round housing for farmworkers and their families.