Grants and Funding, Housing

Workforce Housing Trust Expands with $2.1M in New Funding

From SanRafaelPatch.com, Nicole Ely, 9 Sept 2011.

The Marin Workforce Housing Trust received over $2.1 million in grants to expand their program and invest in a new farm workers housing initiative.

San Rafael, CA — With the help of $2.1 million in new funding, a workforce housing organization will invest in a new farm worker housing initiative and help more low and moderate-income employees, the group said in a statement Thursday.

Marin Workforce Housing Trust (MWHT), located in San Rafael, received several grants from state agencies and local organizations and will focus on assisting 1000 low and moderate-income individuals and families by 2020, according to Executive Director Linda Wagner.

Created in 2004, MWHT is a partnership between the business community, the Marin Community Foundation and the county that makes low-interest rate loans to developers for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of workforce housing. After construction is finished, those loans are repaid and then reinvested in other projects.

Marin County is one of the least affordable counties in California, according to Wagner. Approximately 60 percent of Marin County employees commute, creating more traffic congestion and making it harder for employers to find and keep workers.

The organization provided funds to preserve the 75-unit Shelter Hill apartment complex in Mill Valley and to develop the 60-unit low-income Warner Creek Senior Housing in Novato.

“It’s important that we build healthy and sustainable communities by allowing those who work in Marin to also live here,” said Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold, who’s rallied for affordable housing in her own district.

With the help of $1.16 million from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as grants from the Marin Community Foundation, MWHT raised approximately $3.6 million in total.

“The Foundation is thrilled to be part of such a diverse partnership to meet the critical need for affordable housing for Marin’s low-income workers,” Marin Community Foundation CEO Thomas Peters said. The Foundation provided $750,000 to MWHT for the farm worker housing initiative.

“Providing housing to farm workers means greater safety, security and dignity for an important group of people in our back yard,” he said.

Mechanics Bank also made a $200,000 five-year investment in MWHT.

“As a locally-owned community bank we not only support the Marin Workforce Housing Trust, but also applaud their commitment to helping families stabilize their housing,” Corporate Banking Manager Erwin Reeves said.

Source: SanRafaelPatch.com, “Workforce Housing Trust Expands with $2.1M in New Funding” by Nicole Ely, 9 Sept 2011.

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