Lower-income residents in Banning may be eligible for various home improvement grants and down payment assistance for home purchases, now that the city has approved more than $600,000 for distribution over the next couple of years.
A resolution approved June 12 by the city council includes the down payment assistance program, an energy efficiency rehabilitation plan for homeowners, as well as a minor home repair program and goes into effect this fall.
Funds previously set aside when the city had a redevelopment agency add up to $1,381,290 in cash and additional notes payable, which includes $381,290 as “excess” that must be utilized within three years (of July 1, 2017), or the city forfeits the funds to the California Department of Housing and Community Development to be used elsewhere toward statewide housing initiatives.
Over the past seven years, only two new single-family housing permits have been pulled in the city of Banning — and those were issued within the last 12 months, according to Economic Development Director Ted Shove.
The city’s resolution is among steps it is taking to encourage home ownership in Banning, and provide assistance in rehabilitating existing housing that has deferred maintenance issues to property owners who may be financially challenged to take them on.
Residents may qualify for programs if they are considered low-income ($37,750 annual income for a single adult, or $58,250 combined income for a family of five, for instance), very low-income ($23,600 annual income for a single adult, or $36,400 combined income for a family of five) and extremely low-income ($14,150 low-income for a single adult or $29,420 combined income for a family of five), based on qualifications set by the Riverside County Housing State Income Limits and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
The program’s down payment assistance program would provide up to 1 percent (up to $20,000) of the purchase price toward the down payment. It carries a mandatory affordability covenant, or deed restriction, that expires after 30 years. The security is provided by a promissory note and silent second, or junior deed of trust; repayment will be required upon sale or refinance.
The city also has two Energy Efficiency Rehabilitation programs: one, for small projects, provides $2,000 grants or $5,000 forgivable loans toward energy efficiency and rehabilitation costs, with repairs that address health and well-being, and safety, a high priority — including caulking, piping insulation, HVAC duct repair, weather-stripping, waterproofing, low-flow toilets, and energy-efficient items such as LEDs, timers and automatic shutoffs; and an Energy Efficiency and Minor Home Repair program with forgivable loans up to $10,000 that can be applied to ADA modifications, replacements of screens, doors, windows, roofing, siding, and structural or foundational damage, and grading to correct flooding.
There is also an option for underwriting of multi-family complexes; agreements would require 55-year affordability covenants and city council approval.
Over the next couple of fiscal years, Banning will allocate $381,290 for this year, and $300,000 for 2019-20 toward the program.
Twenty percent of the development funding, or $76,258, may be used by the city for administrative costs toward the housing program. The city will put out a request for proposals to seek part-time housing consulting services, and for a general contractor that would be responsive — and on-call — to fulfill the city’s requests for rehabilitation services.
In a statement after the council meeting, Mayor George Moyer expressed his enthusiasm.
“I’m really excited about this new program. In setting its goals and policies objectives, the council recognized the need to help our citizens,” Moyer says. “We wanted to develop programs that would help residents improve their properties, while simultaneously helping them save on their energy bills, and assist new buyers in being able to purchase homes in Banning.”
Moyer says, “We see this program as a real step forward in assisting our residents, and at the same time, building a positive image for the city.”
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.