Housing group announces $2.5M in loan money 

Short-term funds directed toward affordable housing projects in county

REDWOOD CITY — The Housing Endowment and Regional Trust of San Mateo County is offering $2.5 million in new loan funding that will help affordable housing projects get off the ground.

Trust officials will formally announce the fund at today’s annual Housing Leadership Day, an event where hundreds of officials gather to focus on affordable housing. The trust has already distributed $4 million in long-term, 55-year loans, but the new money will go toward three-year loans, according to Chris Mohr, director of the county’s Housing Leadership Council.

"We’ll use this to get developments started, and then we’ll get that money back and can loan it out again," Mohr said. HEART will offer loans of up to $750,000 at a 2 percent interest rate.

The long-term loans went to three housing projects and 398 new units, including Colma Transit Village, Hillcrest Senior Housing in Daly City and senior housing at Village at The Crossing in SanBruno. There are some new projects on the horizon, but none have come forward for the new loans yet, according to Mohr.

Creating affordable housing has proven difficult for cities in San Mateo County. In 1999, the Association of Bay Area Governments required local cities to build a total of 16,305 new units by 2006, including a number of low-income homes.

Just 8,443 were built, according to ABAG principal planner Ken Kirkey.

In response, all 20 of the county’s cities joined forces this fall so they can work together in future years to meet ABAG goals.

Meanwhile, the region’s work force has been moving to the East Bay or farther afield, according to HEART Chairwoman Carole Groom.

"We want our service employees to have a better quality of life, and we think you have that when you live and work in the same place," Groom said. "It’s something that we need to do to maintain an intact community."

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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