Funding for affordable housing dries up

Even as Sonoma County faces tremendous demand for government-subsidized apartments, affordable housing proponents say the money to pay for new projects is drying up.

Housing groups expect to lose $1 billion a year in redevelopment funds as a result of recent cutbacks. Other state and federal funds have been reduced or eliminated.

"The funding has just been decimated," said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the California Housing Partnership Corporation in San Francisco.

Schwartz was in Santa Rosa on Monday to speak to an annual breakfast gathering of the Sonoma County Housing Coalition, a consortium of housing groups and advocates.

Cities and counties had their redevelopment agencies dissolved earlier this year in a money-saving move to balance the state budget. While advocates haven't done a study on the impact in Sonoma County, the amount of lost redevelopment funds for local housing probably approaches $15 million a year, said John Lowry, executive director of Burbank Housing, a nonprofit builder in Santa Rosa.

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