What is a Housing Trust Fund, and how can we strengthen Davis’s?
June 20, 2021
Background: On May 20, the Housing Element Committee (HEC) voted in favor of 10 recommendations, two of which related to Davis’s Housing Trust Fund, based on a draft document from Davis’s Social Services Commission (SSC). On May 9, the Planning Commission voted in favor of these two recommendations (and none of the other HEC recommendations). On June 15, members of the City Council expressed support for these proposals, although they did not vote on them officially.
By Georgina Valencia
The City of Davis has a Housing Trust Fund (HTF). There are a number of cities throughout the State that have Housing Trust Funds. The funds that go into the HTF account is designated for services and programs related to affordable housing. Currently, the City has no designated plan with priorities and related programs as proposed by the SSC. More specifically there is no sustainability planned into the programs the city currently offers. Programs to date have been Ad Hoc and directed by the funds and programs the State decides that Cities should pursue.
Current funding sources for our City HTF come from: in-lieu fees, 1% fee from the sale of affordable homes, State Grants for CDBG and HOME funds, SB2 funds, rent from City owned affordable housing and more. At any given time there is approximately $500,000 plus or minus in the HTF.
A few examples of real world issues that programs and funding in our HTF could correct:
- HEART (formerly IRWS) has no sustainable funding to keep some of their programs going. Right now a State Grant to help communities cope with COVID pays rent, a program called Room Key, to the end of June to provide housing. What happens after June 30th?
- Individuals looking for affordable rental housing currently file an application and related fee with each landlord in town. And each landlord has their own wait list for housing. This is expensive, time consuming and creates a barrier to access to affordable housing.
- When affordable housing was offered to DJUSD teachers at Grande Village, there was no down payment assistance to help those teachers qualify and buy an affordable home.
- There are individuals in town that have lost their housing (due to divorce, job loss, COVID, etc.). The city has no programs or monies in the HTF to help these folks from becoming homeless.
What does the draft HTF propose?
- The draft HTF proposes programs to recognize all (3) categories of housing needs - see diagram above for some examples
- The draft HTF proposes various sources of funding to create sustainable programming - see document linked below, pages 13- 15
- The draft HTF proposes actual programs to provide greater access to housing for the 3 groups - see diagram above “single online hub/navigation center for information on available affordable apartments and for sale housing”
Finally, we propose that the community press our City Council to add the draft Housing Trust Fund document as developed by the SSC as an appendix to the Housing Element.
To donate to the Housing Trust Fund, you can fill out the following form: Download Donate to Housing Trust Fund
You can read the full document created by the Housing subcommittee of the SSC here: Download Draft Housing Trust Fund