Findings and Recommendations
Local jurisdictions can be a catalyst in establishing Employer-Assisted Housing programs through education and provision of tools and resources. EAH programs could result in measurable progress toward both housing and economic development goals. These efforts could include:
- Incorporating relevant farmworker housing policies and programs into housing elements and zoning codes. (The “Farmworker Housing Study and Action Plan for Salinas Valley and Pajaro Valley” (link above) provides an excellent resource for farmworker housing policies and programs that could be incorporated into local housing elements and zoning ordinances.)
- Sponsoring community forums that educate and engage business leaders and employers who are experiencing challenges in retaining and/or recruiting employees.
- Identifying benefits and potential costs associated with an EAH program.
- Identifying existing and potential assistance programs.
Alternative Housing Ownership Models
Local jurisdictions can be supportive of the sponsors of these alternative housing ownership models by:
- Providing financial assistance in the form of low- or no-interest loans or grants (as noted above, these forms of housing still require funding assistance).
- Providing property tax exemptions for rental housing properties owned and operated by limited partnerships/nonprofits.
- Securing Rights-of-Refusal (e.g., opportunities to purchase subsidized rental units).
- Expediting permit processing for these types of projects.
Mutual Housing Associations
- Given that stakeholders noted there are few non-profit housing developers in the Valley, several jurisdictions (e.g., a County and its Cities) could consider facilitating a new MHA or partnering with an existing association that may be willing to expand or assist in the development of a new association.
Other Low-Cost Housing Types
- Confirm local zoning regulations allow for manufactured housing and modular/prefabricated housing, consistent with State laws.
- Add micro units and cohousing to zoning codes as allowable residential building types.
- Consider a marketing program that promotes use of lower-cost construction techniques and/or developments with manufactured housing by noting the jurisdiction’s willingness to streamline permits and provide other incentives (e.g., a fee deferral upfront; waiver of a portion of fees when more affordable units result).