Chris Robles, Economic Development Director for City of Roseville

Chris Robles, Economic Development Director for City of Roseville

The City of Roseville and the Roseville Housing Authority strive to provide fair and reasonable access to a variety of housing types with an assurance of providing affordable housing choices for our residents. The City of Roseville has a General Plan goal that 10% of all new housing be developed as affordable housing units to serve households at very low (50% of Area Median Income), low (80% of Area Median Income) and middle/median (100% of Area Median Income) income levels. Approximately 36,233 — affordable and market-rate — units have been built in the City of Roseville since 1989.

This range of affordability is provided in both rental and ownership units within new housing developments. Since 1989, the City’s affordable housing policies have produced 2,867 affordable housing units, as further described in the following table:

“When the affordable housing goal was established in 1988, there were three parties that we wanted to see around the table. The City of Roseville, the development community, and the employment community.”

This production total amounts to an average of approximately 106 affordable units developed per year. Success of this program has been based on the City’s commitment to its goal and its collaborative process with development proposals in the production of this housing, as well as partnerships with local affordable housing developers.

In an effort to provide affordable housing programs, the City also accesses a variety of affordable housing funding programs, including Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Housing Bonds, City Housing Trust Fund and Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program funds, and acts as a Housing Authority in the provision of local Housing Choice Vouchers that provide rental assistance.

The City-administered rental assistance program provides rental assistance to approximately 673 low income households, including families, veterans, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Roseville’s Housing Choice Voucher program provides clean and safe housing for families and brings approximately $4.5 million annually to the City’s economy.

CDBG and HOME funds are primarily used to assist first-time homebuyers in purchasing an affordable home and low-income owners in the maintenance, safety and upkeep of their home. Annually, the City provides CDBG funds to assist low-income owners in home repair items like repainting the exterior of their homes, addressing lead-based paint issues, completing more substantial rehabilitation for household health and safety, and installing the necessary accessible features for a household with a senior or person with disabilities. HOME funds assist first-time homebuyers in purchasing a home in the City at an affordable price.

The City of Roseville prides itself in providing an affordable housing program that assists a range of household needs at varying income levels. The City estimates that its combined affordable housing programs serve over 9,100 residents.  Although, Roseville’s comprehensive approach has a long-standing history of producing affordable housing we continue to pursue new and innovative opportunities to further our housing goals.

Affordable housing options in healthy communities is critical

Jan Shonkwiler, Former Housing Program Manager for Roseville

My experience with affordable housing goes back to Roseville’s affordable housing goal that was established in 1988. At that point in those early days, we felt we were cutting-edge by trying out new things to make sure there was affordable housing over time – not just a one-time shot, but looking into developing a future plan for the good of the city.

The way we did that was by requiring 10% affordable housing in our new master plan communities. Right in the development documents was the requirement to include affordable housing. Primarily it was for high-density housing—apartment complexes, where you can typically regulate those to be affordable for longer periods of time of something like 30 to 55 years. Therefore we could ensure that the people who can’t afford to buy homes had affordable renting housing available to them in our community.

You can find study upon study on the wellness of employees who have to drive long distances to get to work versus those who live close to work. And the employers also don’t want unhappy employees who have long commutes to work. A healthy, balanced community means that people who work in your community also live in your community.

When the affordable housing goal was established in 1988, there were three parties that we wanted to see around the table. The City of Roseville, the development community, and the employment community. The large employers are important; for bringing people, employees, into our community and they want to live in the community that they work in. It’s good for the employees—less commute time, close to work, part of the community that they work in. For the employers, it’s proven better retention rates and employee satisfaction when they live nearer to where they work.

Jan Shonkwiler

There are missed opportunities with big developments in particular, when you just take money—in lieu fees—and don’t require affordable housing be a part of it. If you get everyone singing the same tune in the region, then you won’t have developers shopping from city to city and county to county looking for the best deal on this issue—because every municipality and the county will say you have to include affordable housing being built.

Our perspective early on was “we don’t want the money” (in-lieu fees) because as soon as you get that dollar, it’s going to be worth fifty cents in a few short years. It doesn’t travel well with time and the longer you hold onto it, the less value it has.

Not related to development, the city consistently looked for federal and state funds to do first-time home buyer programs anywhere in the community. Probably the most rewarding part of my job was developing the first-time home buyer program. When you see the faces of the people that buy their first home, it’s fantastic, like no other.