NON-PROFIT LIGHT | An interview with Linda Braunschweiger of Housing Trust Fund VC – VC Reporter
On the picture : Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of Housing Trust Fund Ventura County. Submitted photo
by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer
The high cost of living in Ventura County makes it difficult for many people to afford safe and secure housing. The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund aims to change that. The organization is essentially a non-profit bank that provides loans to developers creating houses and apartments at prices suitable for very low income individuals and families. CEO Linda Braunschweiger answered a few questions from the Ventura County Reporter to explain the organization’s role in helping military veterans, homeless people, farm workers and more obtain safe, clean and reliable housing.
This interview has been edited for more space and clarity.
In short, what is the Housing Trust Fund?
The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, a non-profit bank, is the trusted local leader in helping to increase affordable housing options throughout Ventura County by leveraging public-private partnerships to provide flexible low-cost loans. cost at the start of the housing development cycle. We are prioritizing funding for affordable housing units for veterans, transitional foster youth, homeless individuals and families, farm laborers, and low-income individuals and families to extremely low.
How was HFT born?
The Housing Trust Fund Ventura County (Housing Trust Fund VC) was established in 2008 as a non-profit organization to meet the needs of affordable housing developments, which often experience funding gaps during the planning or construction phases. construction. By 2016, Housing Trust Fund VC had become a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and in 2018, it achieved its federal CDFI certification, receiving financial support from the federal, state and county governments, including 10 towns in Ventura County. as foundations, private industry and individuals.
Ventura County continues to face a critical housing crisis. The lack of available and affordable housing in Ventura County has a negative impact on the quality of life throughout our region. Home prices and local rental rates continue to exceed the incomes of many Ventura County residents. Without affordable housing for a range of income levels, residents and businesses of Ventura County will continue to suffer from overcrowded infrastructure and utilities and a stagnant economy.
While a regional housing trust fund is not the only solution to the housing crisis in Ventura County, it is a powerful tool that attracts developers and increases opportunities for residents across the county. access to decent, safe and affordable housing. Ensuring that our residents can afford the roof over their heads and still have enough money to put food on the table, while facing other necessary expenses, is a goal that the Housing Trust Fund Ventura County is committed every day.
Tell us about some of the projects that HTFVC has accomplished.
Since 2012, the Housing Trust Fund VC has funded or pledged to fund over $ 18.7 million in approved loans, $ 8.825 million in 2021 alone. This has resulted in production or planned production. of 847 affordable apartments and houses throughout Ventura County.
In 2021, we committed $ 8.825 million in funding for developments, including:
- 2sd and B Street Homeless Solutions Center in Oxnard. A collaborative project of the City of Oxnard, community development partners and Mercy House, the center will provide a 110-bed homeless shelter and 55 affordable housing units. It is important to note that this center will be built on the first land ever donated by the Town of Oxnard to the Housing Trust Fund VC’s non-profit support organization, the new Housing Land Trust Ventura County.
- Westview Village II in Ventura. This is a project by the City of San Buenaventura Housing Authority that replaces the city’s oldest and largest public housing complex with four new phases of development covering 20.6 acres. Westview Village II is the second phase and will specifically provide 50 senior housing units.
- Sources of veterans in Ventura. A project of A Community of Friends, this multi-family, single-family complex will offer 122 new affordable residences for Veterans and their families.
How many people use HTF’s services?
Housing Trust Fund VC works directly with nonprofit and for-profit developers across California. Thanks to our funding and the work of developers, we estimate that approximately 2,500 people have benefited from clean, safe and affordable housing.
How does HTF fulfill its mission?
In this age of limited resources, Housing Trust Funds, like the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, are able to attract capital from sources not traditionally dedicated to housing. They leverage these funds by combining private resources with funds from foundations, businesses, individuals and public organizations to create a revolving loan fund dedicated to expanding affordable housing and the workforce. ‘artwork. Housing trust fund loans are often made early in the development cycle before traditional finance is available and thus provide the financial support and credibility needed to attract other funds.
Since 2012, the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund has successfully raised $ 15.9 million to support the development of quality affordable housing in our community, including a $ 4 million match for Proposition 1.
What types of fundraising activities does HTF use to make money?
Unlike most publicly funded housing trust funds, funds supporting the VC Housing Trust Fund come from a number of public, private and corporate sources, including :
- Income earned on loan fees and interest.
- Funding from the local government of Ventura County and the 10 towns in the county.
- California State Housing Bond Fund Voter Approved Via Proposition 1c and Proposition 1.
- Federal funds (grants) from the Fund of Financial Institutions for Community Development (CDFI) of the US Department of the Treasury.
- Businesses, corporations, foundations and private donations.
- Compassionate Campaign’s annual fundraising event.
How do you find projects to finance?
I work closely with city housing departments, housing professionals, community groups and advocates to find potential affordable housing development opportunities. We have a long standing reputation among developers who know we are strong and trustworthy partners taking seriously our role of expanding our financial resources through responsible financial management, and we are creative in our association of funds. non-traditional with flexible financial products that offer below-market interest rates. We are working together to ensure that Ventura County has the necessary housing for everyone who calls our community home.
What are some of the biggest challenges involved in achieving HTFVC’s mission?
The extent of the need. For at least 10 years, California and Ventura County have not built enough housing to meet the growing needs of our community. Today, Housing Trust Fund VC has a pipeline of potential housing projects seeking over $ 40 million in loan funds from Housing Trust Fund VC. We need more loan capital to make sure each of these important affordable housing units is built and becomes home to those who need it most. Additionally, with more loan capital from grants and investments, the trust fund can bring Ventura County $ 25 million in matching funds from Sacramento through the Proposition 1 matching fund program. need those who are locally able financially to help us, match that $ 25 million in taxpayer dollars and bring the funds back to Ventura County. We cannot and must not leave this money on the table in Sacramento when we have such a growing need here in our county.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
I like my job! As founding CEO, I have been able to create, together with the Housing Trust Fund VC Board, a creative, agile, flexible, strong, valued and, above all, entity that seeks to provide housing for all. Seeing a person or a family being given the keys to their new, safe and clean home always makes me emotional. The trajectory of that person’s life is forever changed. There is a newfound confidence in every resident as I watch them walk higher, breathe pride and see a future for themselves and their family that allows them to dream bigger.
What are some things you would like people to know about HTFVC that they probably don’t know?
Each person, whatever their heritage, financial means, level of education, professional status, a family of one or more, in good health or ill, has the same desire to feel safe, secure and at ease in his home. The success of our individual communities depends on the fact that each resident has an equal voice and say in how the collective community thrives. Housing Trust Fund VC believes that having clean, safe and affordable housing is a key part of the success of our community. By working together, we can tackle this affordable housing crisis and improve our lives now and for generations to come.
Ventura County Housing Trust Fund, 360 Mobil Ave., Suite 213A, Camarillo, 805-384-1144, www.housingtrustfundvc.org.