Sonoma County Agency Releases Draft of Affordable Housing Plans

Public comment period open until May 31

The county agency in charge of funding affordable housing projects throughout most of Sonoma County released a draft of its plans for the coming year on Friday.

The Sonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC), which covers all of the county except for Santa Rosa and Petaluma, published a copy of its 2020 Consolidated Plan and the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 One Year Action Plan. The document was prepared and published in accordance with federal housing requirements.

While poring through dozens of pages of numbers and jargon may not seem like fun, the document offers an important glimpse into the current housing situation faced by Sonoma County’s poorest families.

“Cost-burden is the most common problem …” the plan states. “Using [federal housing] data from 2011-2015, a period before several more years of double-digit rent escalation, the figures still yield staggering numbers of severely cost-burdened renters.”

There were 103,147 households and 266,489 residents in the regions covered by the CDC in 2017, according to the CDC draft plan.

Based on the 2011–2015 data, 7,388 extremely low-income households (68 percent of that income category) paid more than half their income towards rent. A May 2019 data set from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that 76 percent of extremely low-income households now pay more than half their income in rent, the CDC plan states.

The second half of the document offers a draft of the CDC’s plan to spend federal housing money on affordable housing projects in the coming year.

Members of the public have until May 31 to comment via the CDC’s website. A link to the full report is available on the same page.