Bakersfield City Council approved a program Wednesday that will expand affordable housing capacity throughout the city while increasing homeownership and affordable rents.
The council established the Bakersfield Affordable Housing Trust Fund and allocated $5 million to the program from the city’s Public Safety and Vital Services funds.
Bakersfield will also apply for state matching funds for another $5 million as well as allocate an additional $1.6 million from the Economic and Community Development operating budget.
The Bakersfield Affordable Housing Trust fund will be financed for at least five years and will be headed by Paul Saldana, the city’s Economic and Community Development Director.
Bakersfield, city officials said, isn’t alone in having an immense need for more housing for homeless and low income residents who have a high housing cost burden.
According to city documents, there are 30,665 low-income households that spend over 30 percent of their income on housing. That totals 75 percent of all low income households in the city.
City staff is also concerned about overcrowding as there are 6,140 low and moderate income households that average more than one person per room.
Housing costs in Bakersfield have increased dramatically over the last decade.
Home values have risen by 82 percent since Dec. 2011, which marked the low point of the housing market following the mid-2000s boom.
From 2011-2017, median rent increased 10.5 percent while median household income increased around 11 percent.
The types of projects that will be eligible for consideration include the following:
- New permanent supportive housing units
- Emergency shelters and transitional housing
- The preservation of existing affordable housing
- Assistance with multi-family rehabilitation programs
- Conversion of hotels to affordable housing units
- Construction, conversion or rehabilitation of ADUs or JADUs
- Administrative costs for affordable housing programs and projects
- Pre-development costs including development fees of affordable housing units
- Program development, feasibility studies, research or community engagement efforts focusing on housing matters
- Purchasing of land for the development of affordable housing projects