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San Rafael earmarks $2.6M for affordable housing

March 9, 2022

By Adrian Rodriguez

A construction crew works on a Homeward Bound project on Mill Street in San Rafael on Wednesday, March 8, 2022. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

San Rafael is spending $2.6 million on four affordable housing projects.

Homeward Bound of Marin will receive a $350,000 grant for a 32-residence project at 190 Mill St. Eden Housing will receive two loans, $850,000 for a 40-apartment project at 3301 Kerner Blvd. and $1 million for a 66-room project for older adults at 999 Third St.

Canal Alliance will receive $400,000 toward the acquisition of an apartment building in the Canal area to convert to affordable housing.

The City Council unanimously approved the funding on Monday.

The money is coming from the city’s affordable housing trust fund. Within that trust are two accounts, a “low/moderate fund,” which is available for projects for low and moderate incomes, and a developer in-lieu fee fund, said Alexis Captanian, a city housing analyst.

Developers pay into the in-lieu fund to bypass San Rafael’s inclusionary housing requirement, which mandates that 10% of homes in large developments be sold or rented at below-market rates. City officials in some cases agree to lower the requirement in exchange for payments into the trust fund.

There will now be $11,169 remaining in the low/moderate fund and $1.838 million in the in-lieu fee fund, Captanian said.

Eden Housing also requested $1.8 million for its Kerner Blvd. project, but netted $850,000. The project calls for transforming the vacant office building into 40 residences for homeless people with on-site supportive services. The project is estimated at about $30 million. Construction is set to begin in spring 2023 and take about a year to complete.

The Canal Alliance project would provide 25 to 30 affordable apartments. The nonprofit is looking to acquire and renovate a complex on Belvedere Street or in the area “so that families could live with dignity,” said Omar Carrera, CEO of Canal Alliance.

“Although our proposal doesn’t have new units, it really responds to the reality that many Canal residents face: The fact that they are paying over 60%, 70% of their income in rent,” he said

“We do understand this is a very unusual situation that we don’t have control of the property, but we’ve got to be competitive and the market is complicated,” he said. “And I think this loan provided by the city … will allow us to be more competitive.”

The nonprofit asked for $800,000 to support the acquisition for the project that is expected to cost over $6 million.

Read the full Article on the MarinIJ

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