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City Loan for Affordable Housing Complex OK'd for Downtown Lot

Habitat for Humanity project to break ground in 2013 and be open by 2015 on Fourth Street.

Next year, ground will be broken on a vacant lot in downtown Novato on a Habitat for Humanity project that will transform it into a 10-unit affordable housing complex.

The Novato City Council on Tuesday approved a $427,438 loan from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund for a Habitat for Humanity affordable housing project on a three-quarter-acre lot at 1112 Fourth Street, between Olive and Vallejo avenues.

The city loan will be used to provide mortgage assistance to low- and very low-income families — those earning $55,500 to $88,800, or 50-80 percent of the area median income as determined by the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

Also, the families will be required to provide 500 hours of hands-on work during the construction of their home and attend a homeowner development program that teaches financial literacy.

The 10 units will be applied to the state’s 2007-2014 Regional Housing Needs Allocation requirement for the city.

“Our goal is to provide homeownership opportunities for Novato’s working families,” said Councilwoman Madeline Kellner. “As costs to develop escalate, and as infill sites become harder to find, it is crucial to find a partner like Habitat for Humanity that has a proven record of success in affordable housing development.”

The council approved the development in 2007 for a neighborhood that contains a housing mix of single-family, duplexes and other multi-family homes. Habitat for Humanity is under contract to purchase the lot, which had been identified by the city as a future site for housing. The grand opening is scheduled for 2015.

 “The dream of homeownership is precious to those families who call Novato ‘home’,” said Phillip Kilbridge, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. “It allows families who may also work in Novato to stay local and establish long-lasting roots in this vibrant community. We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the city and of the success it has produced, and will produce for local working families.”

The city loan, which represents the balance in the Housing Trust Fund, requires that the units remain affordable for a minimum of 55 years, and the city is repaid if any unit sells after that time.

In its 23-year history of providing affordable home ownership to families, Habitat's Bay Area chapter has not experienced a mortgage default. Additionally, the city has requested that Novato families, and those who work in Novato, are given preference in the selection process. 

This is the third collaboration between the city of Novato and Habitat. In 2010, the city approved a loan of $65,000 to purchase a single-family foreclosed home at 1674 Center Road, and in 2011 it OK'd $130,000 for foreclosed homes at 5 Dusel Drive and 7 Boulevard Court. Novato families were selected for all three homes.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was created in 1988 to assist lower-income households purchase homes in Novato. In the past two years, the city has released more than $622,000 from this fund, and since 2005, more than $37 million has been invested by the city to create affordable housing options in Novato. 

Source: Peggy Flynn, public communications coordinator, city of Novato

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Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr November 16, 2012 at 06:19 AM
@Phillip, would you like to wager that ABAG and Assemblywoman Torres of Pomona will find a way to exclude/disqualify them? Wikipedia Pomona. Would you like to live there?
Tina McMillan November 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Wyndover has nothing to do with Habitat for Humanity. Wyndover is run by a private corporation that was given tax free status by the council many years ago for turning its building into low income rentals. Habitat provides homes to families that are employed and that put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to actually help build their own homes. It is program that contributes to the tax base and that keeps housing in line with existing neighborhoods. I agree that Wyndover is a disaster but Habitat is a blessing.
Edwin Drake November 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Why so few residences? Seems there be a slightly higher density here, as it's VERY close to all sorts of services.
JBW November 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Sounds like the preachings on a typical NIMBY jerk! This lot was previously a single family home in backyard. My neighbors and I were in support of this project before it even became public. I hope they suggest a dense low income project in your backyard, and I'll fight to make it larger and denser (expletive).
Roger November 17, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Edwin, I think H4H focus is to get people to have pride of ownership and minor self maintenance, such as painting and yard care. That is hard to get via a condo situation.

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