In July 2015, the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State (OCED) and California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) partnered with San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative to host a regional forum, “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Programs: Funding Opportunities for the San Joaquin Valley.” Over 85 attendees came from across the region to Merced to participate.
The forum provided an opportunity for information sharing with Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) applicants; participants also learned about resources for accessing programs and discussed the limitations of programs and opportunity areas for change. A letter addressing challenges and opportunities for applicants was drafted and sent on behalf of the forum participants to the Strategic Growth Council.
In January 2016, a San Joaquin Valley Technical Assistance (SJV TA) team was awarded funding from Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to assist eligible San Joaquin Valley communities in applying to the AHSC program. Two other technical assistance teams were awarded funding: Southern California Association of Governments and ELP Advisors. $500,000 was available to fund technical assistance teams.
The SJV TA team consists of representatives from San Joaquin Council of Governments, Fresno Council of Governments, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, CCRH, Sigala, Inc., and OCED. The team, along with representatives from SGC, convene weekly via phone to discuss technical assistance efforts.
The intent of the technical assistance program is to
1. Help eligible applicants in applying for Round 2 of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program.
2. Develop capacity building efforts to assist eligible applicants in applying for future rounds of AHSC funding.
Concept Applications were due in March and applicants were notified in April if they were invited to submit full applications, which were due in June. The SJV TA team will continue to work one-on-one with applicants through both application periods. Awards are scheduled to be announced in September 2016.
OCED and CCRH are leading the AHSC TA efforts to build capacity for future AHSC funding cycles. The focus of these efforts is to engage stakeholders new to the program, educate jurisdictions and elected officials, and keep developers interested and excited about the program.
Two workshops were held in May, in the South Valley in Visalia and in the North Valley in Atwater. These workshops were part of a series led by the SJV TA team, with additional workshops planned for the fall. The workshops provided an introduction to the AHSC program, with an emphasis on building capacity and fostering relationships for future funding rounds. There were over 60 participants in attendance.