Sonoma County Housing Recovery Bond on the Horizon

Greenbelt Alliance recently teamed up with elected leaders and a cross-sector coalition to urge city and county officials to push for a Housing Recovery Bond on Sonoma County’s November 2018 ballot. The goal is to generate $300 million over 26 years that will help fund critically needed affordable rental and for-sale homes countywide and help boost rebuilding and recovery efforts after the North Bay Fires.

Greenbelt Alliance Regional Director Teri Shore is part of the housing bond coalition, which includes nonprofit housing developers, business, labor, environmental, and community groups. The housing bond effort is being led by Santa Rosa City Council member Jack Tibbetts and Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. With their support, Shore played a key role in developing the housing bond policy framework adopted by the coalition. The policy platform is now being circulated to decision makers across Sonoma County.

Greenbelt Alliance secured provisions requiring that all homes funded by the bond are sited either in cities with voter-approved urban growth boundaries or within the existing footprint of unincorporated communities. This will keep construction out of community separators and greenbelts, as detailed on our Sonoma County Housing Conversation map. We also added criteria prioritizing funding for affordable homes near transit, jobs and services, and greener building.

Recently, Greenbelt Alliance and about 20 other speakers from the coalition convinced the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to take the first formal steps toward making the Housing Recovery Bond a reality. They voted to look into the costs and benefits of placing a housing bond on the November 2018 ballot. They will decide whether to go ahead later in May, as reported by the Press Democrat.

If they do choose to move forward, Greenbelt Alliance plans to ensure that the key provisions we achieved in the housing bond policy framework remain intact as the measure is finalized and goes to the voters. It will require a 2/3 vote to pass.

Photo: Lana Russell-Hurd

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