Housing Trust Fund Ventura County announces approval of a $1.1 million acquisition loan for Aspire Apartments in Oxnard supporting homeless and disabled individuals and families
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County (Housing Trust Fund VC) announces a $1,100,000 acquisition loan approved by its Board for funding to Many Mansions for the Aspire Apartments in Oxnard set to begin construction in 2024. The nonprofit had previously approved and funded a $250,000 pre-development loan back in January 2020. This brings the total funding from Housing Trust Fund VC to $1,350,000 in support of this development.
Aspire Apartments will consist of 56 one-bedroom units and 32 two-bedroom units, including a manager's unit, for a total of 88 apartments. Residents, comprised of extremely and very low-income families and individuals, and homeless and disabled individuals, will enjoy a community center, laundry facility, common area kitchenette, and recreational space. Uniquely, the second floor of the building will feature an outdoor community green space complete with BBQ and picnic area to help build an inclusive neighborly environment. Additionally, Oxnard Development Commission Successor Agency has partnered in this project to acquire and develop a pocket park that will be accessible to the public.
“This block in Downtown Oxnard has long been a mixture of unused buildings, half vacant lots, and an encampment of people who made homes from what they had,” commented Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. “In a few years, the Aspire and Central Terrace apartments will bring 173 affordable housing apartments to this block, and the residents who struggled to make shelter in the empty lots will have the chance to find peace within a safe and comfortable home.” Braunschweiger refers to a neighboring affordable residence development, Central Terrace Apartments, which Housing Trust Fund VC has also supported with a $1.1 million pre-construction loan.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County celebrates 10 years of lending in 2023, having committed or funded $26 million helping to create 1,120 affordable apartments and homes in Ventura County since 2013. The nonprofit invites the community to its Annual Compassion Campaign – a unique guest immersion. “Home Made: Fund It + Build It + Live It” invites guests to stroll through three powerful exhibits at the Museum of Ventura County that will showcase how safe, equitable, and affordable homes are funded, built, and lived in within Ventura County. This event is sure to sell-out as it did last year. Tickets available here.
Join us and walk through three hands-on exhibits that shine a light on what it takes to fund, build, and support residents who live in affordable housing.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County (Housing Trust Fund VC) will host their fourth annual Compassion Campaign on May 11, 2023, from 5PM-9PM, in-person at the Museum of Ventura County. Sponsored in part by Ventura County Credit Union, this year promises to be another memorable evening as guests of COMPASSION CAMPAIGN – HOME MADE: FUND IT + BUILD IT + LIVE IT are invited to stroll through three powerful exhibits showcasing how safe, equitable, and affordable homes are funded, built, and lived in within Ventura County. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, click here.
With the Museum of Ventura County as a backdrop, guests will be fully immersed into three hands-on exhibits complete with audio, video, and tactile items that tell the story of what it takes to fund, build and support residents who live in affordable Ventura County homes. Guests will be provided silent headphones as they are invited to first visit the FUND IT exhibit where they will learn that funding affordable housing is much like making lasagna. Moving on to the BUILD IT exhibit guests will “virtually” walk through a beautiful affordable community to experience all that goes into developing these homes. Finally, guests approach the LIVE IT exhibit finding themselves at a kitchen table witnessing the positive impact affordable housing has had on residents’ lives as they tell their stories.
“Last year’s Compassion Campaign was a huge success as we hosted our first ever immersive experience,” stated Housing Trust Fund VC CEO, Linda Braunschweiger. “Guests shared that being immersed really helped them truly feel the experience of facing housing insecurity. This year we’re excited to offer guest engaging exhibits to tell the story that when we all work together as a collective community we can create more safe and affordable homes.”
Housing Trust Fund VC’s annual Compassion Campaign draws a diverse crowd of decision makers, community leaders, change makers and advocates for housing, mental health, homelessness, farmworkers, foster youth, the disabled community, seniors, and more. This year’s unique immersive experience is certain to sell out as sponsors are seen as active leaders in strengthening our community by positively impacting lives through supporting the development of safe and equitable homes in Ventura County. For more information on how to become a Compassion Campaign sponsor click here.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County announces two new Board Directors and appoints new Chair at its Annual Public Meeting
Celebrates $26+ million in funded/committed loans towards affordable housing in Ventura County
During its Annual Public Meeting in January, Housing Trust Fund Ventura County announced two new Directors have joined its Board. Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Paula, Elenore Vaughn joins the Board bringing with her two decades of experience in real estate development and public affairs. Joining Ms. Vaughn on the Board is longstanding community member and partner at McCarthy Companies, Sarah McCarthy-Garcia, who brings years of local building and business development experience. The 2023 Board is led by 2023 Chair Tracy McAulay, Management Analyst for the County of Ventura Community Development Division and Vice Chair Ken Trigueiro, CEO & President of People’s Self-Help Housing.
With over 140 registered guests attending the nonprofit’s Annual Public Meeting via Zoom, guests heard from Richard Green, Ph.D. Director and Lusk Chair in Real Estate at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and Alan Greenlee, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing. Tailored around the theme, “Lives Connected Through One Common Need,” the speakers stressed the economic importance of ensuring that all members of a community are provided equitable access to safe and affordable homes and the role that a revolving loan fund plays in creating them. During the meeting, the nonprofit announced that since 2013 over $26 million, $14.7 million in 2022 alone, has been funded or committed to build 1,120 affordable multifamily developments. Additionally, its supporting nonprofit, Housing Land Trust Ventura County, has received two parcels of donated land since 2021 on which to build permanent affordable homes.
Meet Housing Trust Fund VC’s two newest Board Directors
Elenore Vaughn joined the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Paula in February 2022. Prior to joining the City, Vaughn was the President/CEO of Emerald Urban Development & Consulting, a real estate developer of residential, mixed-use, and commercial properties. Vaughn’s experience includes economic development, project/property management, public-private sector collaboration, crisis management, and diversity outreach. Vaughn is a former President/CEO of Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles and was appointed in 2006 by then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve on the Department of Building & Safety Board of Commissioners. Her passion for improving the quality of life for low-income residents remains a driving force in her current position.
Partner of the privately held McCarthy Companies, Sarah McCarthy-Garcia is the company’s Director of Business Development and Marketing. Founded in 1980, Ventura-based McCarthy Companies is a full-service residential development and construction company with a focus on multifamily, senior, mixed-used, single family and affordable housing communities. Their portfolio includes Housing Trust Fund VC funded Mountain View Apartments in Fillmore, Walnut Apartments in Moorpark, and Willett Ranch and Castillo del Sol Apartments in Ventura.
Having served on the Housing Trust Fund VC Board for the last 5 1/2 years, Tracy McAulay stepped into the Board leadership role after having held the Secretary position, and Vice Chair position in 2021 and 2022. “I’m honored to help guide Housing Trust Fund Ventura County alongside our 18-member Board as we put the over $26 million in loan funds to use in fulfilling our mission of providing housing stability for all in our community.”
Ventura County ranked first as experiencing the worst housing shortage in the nation according to a study released by nonprofit research group Up for Growth. Short 31,000 units, Ventura County is part of a nationwide trend that saw housing underproduction double between 2012 and 2019. The study did not include a 25% increase in the county’s homeless population since the beginning of the pandemic. As the housing crisis continues to worsen, new approaches are necessary to provide affordable housing to more people.
Addressing the high cost of land is one of the most direct ways to make building affordable housing easier and faster. Between 2012 and 2017, the value of land used for single-family housing in the United States rose at a rate nearly four times higher than inflation, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. A community land trust allows different sectors to join together to identify and secure land as a lasting asset on which to create and maintain permanently affordable housing developments, providing opportunities for generations of lower income families and individuals.
Housing Land Trust Ventura County was formed in 2021 as a community land trust that works to acquire donated land to preserve for affordable housing development by removing the most cost-prohibitive part of building affordable homes, the high cost of land.
Ventura County has at least two different types of Land Trusts. Housing Land Trust VC accepts land for development of affordable housing in perpetuity. Ventura Land Trust, on the other hand. preserves land for open space such as the Ventura hillsides. Both play a vital role in our community’s long-term viability.
In April 2021, Housing Land Trust Ventura County received a donation of land valued at $840,000 from the city of Oxnard for the development of what will be The Oxnard Navigation Center at Casa de Carmen. The project is being led by developer Community Development Partners and will provide 55 affordable housing units, 110 shelter beds, and 24-hour supportive services to the city's homeless population. Housing Trust Fund Ventura County provided a loan of $800,000 to support pre-development costs associated exclusively with the 55 affordable housing units. Eliminating the cost of land and providing pre-development funding directly contributes to the Navigation Center’s ability to give time and resources to the people that need them most.
The land donation was also included as part of $5 million raised locally by Housing Trust Fund VC, which was matched by the California Department of Housing and Community Development under State Proposition 1 Local Housing Trust Fund matching grant program. This marks a first-ever achievement in Ventura County where the value of donated land is included in the state match, paving the way for future land donations and creative approaches to solving the housing crisis.
In November, the city of Thousand Oaks approved the donation of 3.87 acres of surplus land, formerly the site of Hillcrest Christian School, to Housing Trust Fund VC/Housing Land Trust VC. The land, valued at $10 million, will be developed by People’s Self-Help Housing into nearly 80 affordable for-purchase townhomes. Housing Land Trust VC is uniquely positioned to ensure each property remains affordable for all future homeowners with a 99-year lease that includes a pay-it-forward deed restriction through the community land trust.
As more people are priced out of their homes, those affected often include our most essential workers. In 2021, the Brookings Institution found that essential workers make up nearly half of all earners in low-paid occupations. Without affordable housing essential workers are forced to commute from neighboring cities and counties, affecting everything from traffic to the economy of Ventura County.
Affordable housing strengthens our community by creating opportunities for residents to build quality lives. Providing both affordable rental units and deed-restricted affordable homes for-purchase gives residents a sense of permanence that creates stability and an opportunity to grow. When residents have the stability they need, they have the freedom to live, work, shop and give back to a community they feel invested in.
Housing Land Trust Ventura County is committed to finding new ways to make affordable housing even easier, starting with the high cost of land. By taking new approaches to an old problem, we can work to solve the housing crisis and provide affordable housing more effectively and efficiently, because everyone deserves a home.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County hosts its Annual Meeting on January 18, 2023
Nonprofit welcomes two recognized experts on affordable housing
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County invites anyone interested in learning about affordable housing impacts and solutions to its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. Register free at www.housingtrustfundvc.org/2023annualmeeting. Recognizing, “Lives Connected Through One Common Need,” the nonprofit is hosting two recognized experts on affordability of homes in California – Richard Green, Ph.D. Director and Lusk Chair in Real Estate at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and Alan Greenlee, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing.
Dr. Green will be showcasing the “2022 Multifamily Real Estate Forecast,” and Mr. Greenlee will be discussing the newly passed “Homelessness and Housing Solutions Tax” on transfers of residential and commercial real property valued in excess of $5 million within the city of Los Angeles.
Richard Green, Ph.D., is Professor in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Marshall School of Business. He has served as Senior Advisor for Housing Finance at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute. Dr. Green has also been a principal economist and director of financial strategy and policy analysis at Freddie Mac. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his A.B. in economics from Harvard University. Dr. Green’s research addresses housing markets, housing policy, tax policy, transportation, mortgage finance and urban growth. His work is published in a number of journals including the American Economic Review and Journal of Housing Economics. His book with Stephen Malpezzi, “A Primer on U.S. Housing Markets and Housing Policy,” is used at universities throughout the country, and he recently published a book, “Introduction to Mortgages and Mortgage Backed Securities.” His work has been cited in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Economist, among other outlets. Dr. Green has testified before the US Senate and House Committees, as well as California Assembly Committees, and consults for the World Bank.
Alan Greenlee is the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH). Over his 25-year professional career, Greenlee has demonstrated a commitment to helping low-income families join the economic mainstream by supporting beneficial public policy at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Greenlee has designed, implemented, and managed programs operating from coast to coast, impacting hundreds of thousands of low-income and underserved families. As an entrepreneur, he developed market-making products and services for the solar industry. Drawing from the full range of his experience allows Greenlee to innovate in the fight against poverty tempered by the practicalities of the real world. The combination yields efficient, effective, and scalable solutions.
"The topic of housing affordability continues to dominate the real estate landscape in California,” said Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. “We are honored that Dr. Green and Mr. Greenlee will be sharing their years of experience, teachings, and research during our annual meeting.”
Braunschweiger honored with the Rodney Fernandez Founder's Award for Excellence in Visionary Leadership
In October the Ventura County Community Development Corporation held a very special celebration to honor four important leaders who inspire VCCDC's work and four award winners who are making significant contributions in our community.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County's CEO Linda Braunschweiger received the Rodney Fernandez Founder's Award for Excellence in Visionary Leadership. The award honors Rodney Fernandez who championed the cause for affordable workforce housing in Ventura County for over 50 years and founded VCCDC in 2001. Braunschweiger is noted for her deep understanding of affordable housing and community development coming from her successful career that includes having served as the Community Investment Officer with Affinity Bank, first Executive Director of the CA Housing Consortium, and the Director of Legislative Affairs with CA Housing Finance Agency. As noted on VCCDC's website, "In her role at Housing Trust Fund, Linda parlays the benefits of a nonprofit with the spirit of entrepreneurship to leverage public, private, and charitable funding in order to provide loans to developers building affordable housing." Read her full recognition here.
Alongside Linda that evening were three other award winners, John Gamboa, Chair of California Community Builders taking home the Lynn L. Jacobs Award for Excellence in Lifetime Achievement; Oxnard Police Department Commander Luis McArthur taking home the Ernest Baskette, Jr. Award for Excellence in Community Support; and Michael McGuire Excellence in Community Partnership award winners County of Ventura, Executive Office, Community Development Division.
Grant presented at the Bank's annual Community Dividends lunch
Each year, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, Montecito Bank & Trust celebrates local nonprofits in a longstanding tradition known as their Community Dividends® luncheon. Housing Trust Fund Ventura County's Linda Braunschweiger was one of hundreds of nonprofit leaders who gathered to be recognized for the meaningful work each does every day in our community.
Thank you Montecito Bank & Trust for its very generous investment into affordable housing through the $15,000 donation received this year by Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. It will be leveraged to support affordable housing development for veterans, homeless individuals and families, farm workers, low- and very-low income individuals and families, young adults transitioning from foster care and cognitively impaired individuals.
The Community Dividends® tradition began twenty years ago when the Bank's late founder, Michael Towbes, invited 100 nonprofits to lunch and surprised each of them with a $10,000 check. The tradition carries on, giving away $1 million every November to hundreds of nonprofits across the Central Coast. This year, in honor of its 20th event year, the Bank gave away $2 million dollars.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura receives $518,000 in support of affordable housing; to fund over $4M for Rancho Sierra Senior Apartments near Camarillo
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County is committed to funding the development of safe and equitable homes that make a positive impact in the trajectory of people’s lives. In support of that effort, the nonprofit recently received $18,000 from a combined two operating grants from Citizens Business Bank and the Bank of Sierra and a $500,000 investment from US Bank into its Everyone Deserves a Home Community Impact Note. Funding such as this is pooled with other supportive funding sources to ensure developments like the Rancho Sierra Senior Apartments (Rancho Sierra) are built to foster positive change for individuals and families who face housing insecurity.
Housing Trust Fund VC is providing just over $4.4 million in a pre-development construction loan for the development of Rancho Sierra located on unincorporated land near Camarillo. The 49 senior apartments, 24 of which are set aside for homeless individuals or those at risk of becoming homeless, will be built by Many Mansions with support services overseen by the Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura. Rancho Sierra Senior Apartments is the first affordable development in Ventura County utilizing prefabricated units. With the units factory-built off-site and delivered ready to stand, construction costs are reduced, leading to overall project cost savings as well as a shortened construction period
“A portion of the funding for Rancho Sierra was matched by Prop 1’s local fund matching program,” said Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. “We continue to work diligently at Housing Trust Fund VC to receive the highest possible match each year from Prop 1 to bring more affordable homes to our community.” Housing Trust Fund VC has received $9,019,387 to date from the state’s Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) program which began in 2020.
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County announces land donation by the City of Thousand Oaks for development of affordable, for-sale housing
Ventura County, CA – Housing Trust Fund Ventura County announces a 3.87 acre land donation by the City of Thousand Oaks to its supporting non-profit, the Housing Land Trust Ventura County. Approved at the City’s November 1, 2022 City Council meeting, the donated land located at 384 N. Erbes Road will be developed by People’s Self-Help Housing into nearly 80 affordable for-sale townhomes. People’s Self-Help Housing, as the lead agency, is working with collaborative partners Housing Trust Fund Ventura County/Housing Land Trust Ventura County, Ventura County Community Development Corp, McCarthy Companies, and DiCecco Architecture to bring this development to fruition.
Homeownership is widely out of reach for many residents in Ventura County. The Hillcrest Homes development will open up home ownership for the community’s low-income to moderate-income individuals and families. “There is absolutely no doubt that the City of Thousand Oaks is taking a historic step. It is a step that takes courage. It is a step that will help improve our community,” commented Councilwoman Claudia Bill-de la Peña during the City Council meeting. In 2021, the City of Thousand Oaks acquired the Hillcrest site from Hillcrest Christian School and in early 2022 the City Council adopted a resolution declaring the site as exempt surplus land pursuant to the Surplus Lands Act.
The ability to build affordable housing often comes down to the high cost of land. A critical element of success for the Hillcrest Homes development is the donation of the land by the City of Thousand Oaks and the mechanism established by Housing Trust Fund VC to receive the land through its new supporting nonprofit, Housing Land Trust Ventura County. Hillcrest Homes is the second parcel donated to Housing Land Trust VC since its formation in 2021. In April 2021, the City of Oxnard donated a 22,000 sq parcel located at 241 W. 2nd Street for the development of The Oxnard Navigation Center, which will provide 110 shelter beds and 24-hour supportive services for our community's homeless population. In addition, the development will provide 55 permanent housing units, recently renamed Casa de Carmen in honor of the late Carmen Ramirez.
“We value our long-term partnership with the City of Thousand Oaks. As an early investor into the Trust Fund, the City’s funds have been leveraged and cycled through our revolving loan fund many times over to produce affordable housing throughout Ventura County,” said Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund VC and Housing Land Trust VC. “With this latest land donation, the Housing Trust Fund / Housing Land Trust will be able to leverage millions of dollars in diverse funding from the state as well as the federal government to produce more affordable housing. These resources will also be used to help fund this project.”
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County to receive $5 million from Prop 1 Local Housing Trust Fund program
Housing Trust Fund Ventura County has been notified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) that it has been awarded $5,000,000 from the Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) program. This is a result of the nonprofit’s ability to raise $5M in local funding to receive this 100% match from the California State Prop 1 matching grant program. This brings the total funding for Housing Trust Fund VC in this program round to $10M, which through the development of safe and affordable housing will positively impact the lives of farmworkers, veterans, low-income seniors, cognitively impaired individuals, houseless persons, transitional age foster youth, and extremely-low and low-income individuals and families.
The Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond, also known as California’s Proposition 1, includes the 1:1 fund matching Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) program, providing funding to Housing Trust Funds for the development of rental housing with a focus on low to extremely low-income housing units. This program affords the opportunity for applicant agencies to apply for up to $5 million per year for five years totaling a potential of $25 million. Housing Trust Fund VC has now received $9,019,387 from this program which began in 2020.
“We have been laser focused this last program year to raise $5 million locally so that we could fully leverage the Prop 1 match and we’ve done it!” commented Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. “We have experts in housing on our Board and their leadership guided us towards this vital achievement that will result in more affordable apartments and homes in Ventura County, many of which are already in our development pipeline.” Currently, Housing Trust Fund VC has a pipeline of first-phase approved projects throughout the County with an estimated loan amount just over $32 million and will result in 656 affordable rental units.
Included in the $5 million raised locally, is the $840,000 valued land donated by the City of Oxnard for the development of a new Homeless Solutions Center. This is a first ever achievement in Ventura County where the value of donated land is included by HCD for the purposes of calculating the State match. In addition to this land donation, Housing Trust Fund VC successfully raised this round’s $5 million local match through support of sponsors, donors, grants, loan repayments and its record-setting Compassion Campaign fundraising event. The nonprofit’s successful investment vehicle – Everyone Deserves a Home Community Impact Note, has also attracted investors from both the public and private sector.
“The need for affordable housing continues to grow in our community,” commented Housing Trust Fund VC Board Chair Alex Russell. “This $5 million LHTF award paired with the $5 million local match will go a long way towards building new, safe, quality homes that are affordable to our most underserved populations.” Housing Trust Fund VC is looking at 2023 and beyond to ensure that the $5 million Prop 1 funds are matched 100% every year through the program’s sunset in 2024. To support our community of essential farmworkers, veterans, low-income seniors and more with affordable housing in Ventura County go to, www.housingtrustfundvc.org/donate-now.
Developers interested in receiving a loan may visit www.housingtrustfundvc.org/funding-programs and review the Program and Loan Underwriting Guidelines. A list of projects that have received first phase approval are also available on the website at www.housingtrustfundvc.org/housing.