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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING

FINANCE PROGRAMS

What are the eligible uses of HOME funding for housing development?

Can HOME funds be used to pay predevelopment expenses?

Can HOME funds be used to rehabilitate existing housing units?

What are the eligible uses of CDBG funding for housing development?

What are the current income and rent limits for housing assisted with HOME and CDBG funding?

What is the allowed sales price of housing assisted with CDBG and HOME funding?

DENSITY BONUS PROGRAMS

What is a density bonus program and what density bonus programs does the County offer?

Does the Community Development Commission approve my application for a density bonus?

What is the allowed sales price of density bonus “for-sale” housing?

What are the current income and rent limits for density bonus rental housing?

How are the rents or sales prices for density bonus projects regulated?

Is there a rental monitoring fee for the work performed by the Community Development Commission on density bonus projects?

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FINANCE PROGRAMS

What are the eligible uses of HOME funding for housing development?
· Development hard costs including construction, energy-related requirements, disabled accessibility, demolition, site improvements.

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Can HOME funds be used to pay predevelopment expenses?
No. Sonoma County HOME funds cannot pay predevelopment costs or costs of project administration.

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Can HOME funds be used to rehabilitate existing housing units?
No. Sonoma County HOME funds cannot pay for costs to rehabilitate existing housing units. CDBG funds may be used to pay these costs.

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What are the eligible uses of CDBG funding for housing development?

  • Acquisition of property.
  • Construction of on- and off-site improvements to publicly-owned land to enable the property to be used for housing development. (Land may transfer to private ownership after improvements are completed).
  • Site clearance and demolition.
  • Relocation assistance for permanently and temporarily relocated households.
  • Rehabilitation of existing residential structures.

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What are the current income and rent limits for housing assisted with HOME and CDBG funding?
Click here for a document that explains current rent and income limits for this program.

*Maximum rents will be reduced by a utility allowance, established by HUD, for all tennant paid utilities.

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What is the allowed sales price of housing assisted with CDBG and HOME funding?
For homes reserved for sale to low and very-low income buyers, the Commission uses a formula to establish the affordable sales prices. The formula, which limits monthly housing costs to approximately 30% of the maximum monthly income for the size of household assumed to reside in a particular unit (i.e., the number of bedrooms plus one), assumes a 10% down payment and considers the monthly mortgage payment(s), private mortgage insurance, property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and, if applicable, homeowner’s association dues.

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DENSITY BONUS PROGRAMS

What is a density bonus program and what density bonus programs does the County offer?
Through density bonus programs, developers are allowed to build at densities up to 100% greather than those for which the land is zoned, in exchange for guarantees that the housing will be rented or sold to eligible households at affordable prices. Sonoma County operates the Density Bonus and Type A and C Housing Opportunity Areas programs to assist private developers to build rental and for-sale housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households.

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Does the Community Development Commission approve my application for a density bonus?
No. The Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) approves applications for density bonuses. After the application is approved, the Community Development Commission administers the affordability restrictions for all units to be regulated per the PRMD approval.

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What is the allowed sales price of density bonus “for-sale” housing?
For homes reserved for sale to very low-, low-, and moderate-income buyers, the Commission uses a formula to establish the affordable sales prices. The formula, which limits monthly housing costs to approximately 30% of the maximum monthly income for the size of household assumed to reside in a particular unit (i.e., the number of bedrooms plus one), assumes a 10% down payment and considers the monthly mortgage payment(s), private mortgage insurance, property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and, if applicable, homeowner’s association dues.

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What are the current income and rent limits for density bonus rental housing?
For very low-income units: Monthly rent may not exceed one twelfth (1/12) of 30% of 50% of the annual median income, adjusted for the assumed household size (the number of bedrooms in the unit plus 1).
For low-income units: Monthly rent may not exceed one twelfth (1/12) of 30% of 60% of the annual median income, adjusted for the assumed household size (the number of bedrooms in the unit plus 1).
In both cases, these rents will be reduced by a utility allowance for estimated tenant-paid utilities.

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How are the rents or sales prices for density bonus projects regulated?
Developers of density bonus projects enter into an Affordable Housing Agreement with the Community Development Commission, which establishes the levels at which affordable units may be sold or rented and the time period during which the affordable units must remain affordable. Commission staff monitors buyer incomes and purchase prices as units are sold and monitors rental units at least annually.

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Is there a rental monitoring fee for the work performed by the Community Development Commission on density bonus projects?
Yes. Developers of density bonus rental units pay a monitoring fee of $75.00 per unit per year. That fee is adjusted from time to time to offset increases in administrative costs.

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