County supervisors are considering a new, more streamlined loan program to help affordable housing developers move quickly to buy rental complexes.
The proposed Rental Housing Acquisition and Preservation Loan Program would be funded with $5 million of Fiscal Year 2021 year-end fund balance. Supervisors already voted on Sept. 8 to use that $5 million toward the county’s affordable housing needs.
The new program would work alongside the existing Affordable Multifamily Housing Loan program. Compared to that program, the new program would have a shorter review period—meant to help affordable housing developers snatch up properties rather than watch them disappear from the market while the wheels of government turn—and some more flexible qualifications. The program would have an estimated two-month approval process compared to an estimated five-month approval process.
Developers would apply to the county to be pre-qualified, creating a pool of certified developers and skipping that part of application review when they apply for a loan. Applications would also be accepted on a rolling, rather than annual, basis. That program has several times seen applications outside of its normal annual cycle as properties have come available; according to county staff, the new program would replace that.
The loans would also be only toward buying properties, where the existing program can fund new construction and rehabilitating existing properties. Developers would submit to the county a plan outlining how both new and existing tenants would be served.
The Board of Supervisors’ finance committee on Jan. 11 voted to send the proposal to a public hearing 4-0-1, with County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) absent.