Affordable homes in jeopardy

Protect HOME funds, a path to affordable housing in our communities

Habitat for Humanity of Butte County works with the city of Chico and many other organizations to help low-income residents have safe and affordable places to live. Our organization is currently building two new homes on East 11th Street. When completed, they will be the 26th and 27th houses the organization has built for deserving families in Butte County over the past 22 years.

These homes are being built with seed money from the HOME Investment Partnership program, federal funds granted to the city, as well as a tremendous amount of support from our community in terms of donations, volunteers, grants, in-kind help and services.

Studies show how essential decent housing is for the overall health of a community, but all of this good work is in danger.

If a proposal to cut the HOME program by 93 percent is adopted by the House and the Senate, the program will essentially be eliminated. These funds have helped Habitat for Humanity provide self-help home ownership to 27 local families, housing 120 people. In the city of Chico, the 2015 HOME allocation is $368,658. If this proposal is approved, it would be reduced to only $25,806.

HOME funds are the only source of federal funding left to build affordable homes, and numerous other local agencies have used the money to provide the community with affordable housing as well. The program also plays a critical key role in leveraging other funds and often provides the additional financing necessary to make affordable housing developments feasible. In fact, every HOME dollar leverages an additional $4.

The program has a proven track record of successfully addressing the whole spectrum of housing needs in our urban, suburban and rural communities, from home ownership to rentals to rehabilitation projects.

Affordable housing is one of the key ingredients to a healthy and thriving community, which benefits us all. Please join us in contacting our representatives in Washington to let them know how important HOME funds are for deserving families in Butte County.