More than 5,000 housing units were lost to the wildfires, compounding the housing crisis that existed before the fires in October 2017. To achieve a vision of a housing market that is in balance, climate smart, and affordable, and equitable and that encourages diversity, the County is embracing a new regional approach to produce 30,000 new housing units by 2023.
Steps taken include:
- Mapped 4,952 fire damaged properties, validated parcel data to expedite the Right of Entry process for debris removal, and collected field data to track progress of clearing.
- Free energy rebuilding consultations are offered by the County’s Energy and Sustainability Division of General Services. https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/General-Services/Energy-and-Sustainability/Energy-Consulting-and-Project-Planning/
- Energy and Sustainability is facilitating climate positive construction techniques for rebuilding homes through consultation and project planning assistance.
- $17,500 in rebuilding incentives offered through Sonoma Clean Power.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy financing now available for fire recovery housing. https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/General-Services/Energy-and-Sustainability/Financing-and-Rebates/
- The Bay Area Council (BAC) is a business-sponsored, public policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. BAC is working with the County to develop regional policy recommendations, data, and key indicators to assist with the rebuilding efforts.
- CASA (MTC/ABAG) is the Committee to House the Bay Area, a diverse, multi-sector set of partners in the Bay Area who are developing a report to identify and act upon regional solutions to the Bay Area’s chronic housing affordability challenges. The County is working with CASA to collaborate around the three primary concerns of CASA: how to increase the production of housing, particularly affordable housing; how to ensure the preservation of the existing affordable housing stock; and how to ensure the protection of current residents against displacement pressures that arise from new construction.
- Exploring housing opportunities on County-owned properties.
- Received $3.2 million in Emergency Additional Assistance grant funding from the California Employment Development Department to assist Dislocated Workers affected by the October wildfires. Grant funding will serve approximately 700 individuals with individualized career services and an additional 200 dislocated workers with reemployment assistance.
- Outreached to encourage employers to apply for SBA loans to recoup physical and economic damage.
- Continue to monitor additional resources that come available during recovery, such as the California IBank Disaster/Loan Guaranty Programs, EDA Revolving Loan Funds, and HUD funding and encourage employers to apply.
- Applied for Economic Development Administration grant to complete the design/ engineering for broadband in specific unserved rural areas of the County. This project was developed with Recovery and Resiliency, Department of Transportation and Public Works, and Information Systems Department. The submitted application is for $605,500 to complete the design, engineering, and feasibility analysis of broadband in select locations.