Construction Begins on Affordable Farmworker Family Housing in Sonoma County

Ortiz Family Plaza to help fill critical need for affordable homes

SANTA ROSA, Calif., June 15, 2016 — Affordable housing to meet the needs of Sonoma County’s changing farmworker population is coming soon to Santa Rosa. California Human Development (CHD), Integrity Housing, and Phoenix Development Company announce the closing of financing for Ortiz Family Plaza. Construction is underway now.

“Ortiz Family Plaza will provide the men and women who harvest Sonoma County’s bounty with clean, safe and affordable homes to rest and raise their families,” says Christopher Paige, CHD’s chief executive officer. “Moreover, it will provide stability for work-authorized farmworkers who play a crucial role in the Sonoma County economy. These are much-needed affordable homes for people who live here year-round and whose children are growing up here.”

A 2015 survey by the Sonoma County Health Department shows the profile of county farmworkers is changing, with roughly 90% now living in Sonoma County permanently. It shows farmworkers spend nearly 60% of their income on rent and it identifies affordable housing as a critical need. A subsidy from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows Ortiz Family Plaza to help fill this need by capping rents at 30% of income.

Ortiz Family Plaza is made possible through a wide coalition of non-profit, government, business, and private partnerships. The nearly $11 million complex is financed with USDA Rural Development loan funds; Sonoma County Community Development Commission funds; federal and state tax credits purchased by City Real Estate Advisors; tax exempt bonds issued by California Housing Finance Agency; deferral of entitlement fees to permanent loan by Sonoma County PMRD; and contributions from: Marv Soiland; American Ag Credit; Community Foundation Sonoma County; Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation; and Jackson Family Wines & Enterprises. Construction financing is through Exchange Bank; USDA and California Community Reinvestment Corporation are permanent lenders.

Ortiz Family Plaza will feature 30 two-bedroom one-and-a-half bathroom apartments and a community center with laundry facilities, a management office, kitchen, covered patio, BBQ/picnic area, a playground, community gardens, and a teen recreational area. Onsite services such as English as a Second Language, citizenship workshops, financial literacy classes, health services outreach, mentoring programs, computer classes, education and nutrition programs will be offered.

The complex is named in honor of CHD founder George Ortiz, a leading advocate for California farmworkers for 50 years.

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