Affordable Housing: Orange County allocates $5 million toward Orange County Housing Finance Trust

Orange County is investing millions of dollars to increase affordable housing for low-income families and the homeless.

Under the county’s Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved Supervisor Andrew Do’s proposal to allocate $5 million toward the Orange County Housing Finance Trust. In March, Orange County Supervisors unanimously approved the agreement to launch the regional housing body to address the region’s affordable housing shortage.
“Orange County has a desperate need for more affordable housing,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, who worked with a broad-based coalition to launch the joint powers authority. “The Orange County Housing Finance Trust will work with our cities and community leaders to fast-track financing for new housing for low-income families and the homeless.”  
The Orange County Housing Finance Trust, which is comprised of the county and cities, is tasked with fulfilling the county’s desperate need for additional affordable housing units. Orange County has set an ambitious goal to build 2,700 new permanent supportive housing units, which provide medical, mental health and employment services for the homeless.
A family of four earning less than $85,600 per year will be eligible to participate in housing projects sponsored by the housing trust. 
 “Our goal is to bring everyone together – cities, business leaders, non-profit organizations, homeless advocates and homebuilders,” said Supervisor Do, who will represent the county on the OC Housing Finance Trust Board of Directors. “This $5 million allocation is a down payment towards obtaining additional state and federal funding for affordable housing.”
County officials see the OC Housing Trust as a strategic vehicle for obtaining state and federal grants for both supportive and affordable housing initiatives. In addition to $1 million in state funds, the OC Housing Trust will seek funding from No Place Like Home, Housing for a Healthy California, Low Income Housing Trust Fund, and Veteran Housing and Homeless Prevention Program as well as Community Development Block Grant funds.
Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 448, which authorized the establishment of the countywide housing authority. Following the passage of AB 448, Supervisor Do, then Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, collaborated with representatives from the Association of California Cities–Orange County, city officials and community leaders to draft an initial framework and agency governing documents. The first meeting of the Orange County Housing Finance Trust is set for this Thursday, June 27.