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Op-Ed: Bill Makes Habitat Homes Count Toward RHNA Numbers

AB1103 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, which takes effect in January, allows for Habitat for Humanity homes to count toward a jurisdiction’s housing mandates

Habitat for Humanity recently gave keys to two families to Novato homes that they and the Marin community rehabilitated, allowing them to become homeowners. This makes a total of three Habitat homes in our city.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build with people in need regardless of race or religion.

I have heard some comments since the celebration that it is too bad we can’t count these homes toward our Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers for our General Plan Update Housing Element. I couldn’t agree more,  and in good news, soon we will be able to.

At the celebration, I reminded the group that AB1103 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will allow for Habitat for Humanity homes to count toward a jurisdiction’s RHNA numbers. Existing law allows a city or county to meet up to 25 percent of its housing needs through conversion or rehabilitation of existing units, but it did not allow for single-family homes to be counted; only buildings with more than four units would qualify.  AB1103 allows for any foreclosed property that has been converted to very low or low-income housing with long-term affordability covenants to be counted toward meeting RHNA numbers.

This legislation will prove to be helpful during these tough economic times, when there has been in increase of foreclosed properties that often sit vacant and become eyesores in our neighborhoods for long periods of time. Habitat for Humanity’s great work in our community can now help us meet state requirements, and help families find safe and affordable places to call home.

Habitat for Humanity prospective homeowners must:

  • Be citizens or legal residents.
  • Prove steady income.
  • Have good credit.
  • Earn a monthly income that falls within minimum and maximum limits, depending on household size.
  • Sustain a savings account over a specified period of time.

In addition, each partner family will be required to:

  • Invest sweat-equity hours in building his/her home and others.
  • Make an affordable down payment.
  • Make timely mortgage payments.
  • Attend homeowner education classes.

We now have a total of three Habitat for Humanity homes in Novato and three families we welcome as new homeowners and a part of our community.

SHROYER FOR SUPERVISOR 2014 November 05, 2011 at 03:05 PM
High density housing creates local pollution and the loss of quality of life. Three people on the ad hoc group were pushing for 40 to 50 units an acre which the majority of people were against. With tax bonds, density bonuses and tax exemptions (currently the school parcel tax is only 8.00 a month in Novato--hardly enough to off set the school needs) these projects are money makers for the investors. Wyndover makes over 1.7 million a year-- a high density low income multi-family project---the invester/ Fairfield Residential put less than 3 million into purchasing the project. It is a cash cow, while they are not accountable for safe housing. All of the police calls to the complex are paid by the hard working people of Novato. Have to leave this blog now---thank you for engaging everyone...
Sylvia Barry November 05, 2011 at 11:39 PM
For units 1-4 rentals, stringent screening of prospective tenants and periodically property inspection are keys for quality tenancy. For multiple-units apartments, city council directed the staff at the last special housing element meeting to put priority on reviewing and establishing the draft Housing Policies and the Management of Multiple-Family Housing developed by Ad Hoc Housing Working Group. This includes 'Tenanting, Safety and Management of multiple-family housing', which applies to both low-income and none low-income housing. This was on city council’s 09/27 and 10/04 agenda. http://ci.novato.ca.us/agendas/pdfstaffreports/cc11_184.pdf Hopefully this can be developed and implemented soon for any future multiple-unit housing development; and, if possible, adopted retroactively by existing housing.
Craig Belfor November 06, 2011 at 12:11 AM
You guys are dreaming about the screening. As I said in a earlier post, My family had a low income, section 8 apartment building in San Francisco. The worse the tenant, the more we made. If they were really poor, the government would pay 95% of their rent, and give them welfare and food stamps. We had tenants getting $1200 in cash, plus food stamps, with only $50 required towards rent from them, while the government paid the other $950. Within a week of moving in, they had 2 or 3 more people living there, and were trashing the place. They never paid the $50, and the few who didn't have good cars rented out their parking spaces for up to $100 per month and still didn't pay us the rent. Why did we allow this? WE MADE BANK! The government paid their portion of the rent on time, and paid for all for the damages. We only lost $50 per month on each unit, and just set the rent higher to cover it. If the tenant was better off, we'd loose more, because the government would only guarantee (pay) a smaller percentage of the rent. I've had other properties since then, but never came close to the return on that building. When I call Wyndover a wino warehouse, I speak from direct experience. It's a great business if you don't have a conscience or have to live nearby. Don't look for them to change. They won't until they loose money. The men on the council need to fine them, using the crack house rules from Richmond. When we solve Wyndover, then we entertain a new building.
PeaceNovato November 06, 2011 at 09:10 PM
I just love it when you lead with insubstantiated statements like "High density housing creates local pollution...". Makes me wonder about the validity of everything else....
Tina McMillan November 06, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Don She was referring to the problems with the Eden House site prior to the beginning of construction. They wouldn't maintain the area even after repeated requests. Finally once they received the okay on the funding from the city it was cleaned up. I know the words are fiery but the heart behind the conflict has to do with the Wyndover complex continually creating problems for their own residents and the community as a whole. Most everyone posting has a credible argument. Sometimes you just have to ask what they mean.

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