Happy Black History Month!

February is a time to honor Black history in the American experience, lift up the accomplishments of Black Americans, and recommit to addressing the inequities and systemic injustices endured by Black communities.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let us take time to learn about Black leaders, humanitarians, scientists, authors, innovators, and pioneers – and how they have shaped our state for centuries.

At the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, we join in celebrating Black achievement and recommit to working for fairness, dignity and equity by responsibly ensuring that the policies, programs and resources we administer support and enhance the quality of life for Black Americans.

BCSH leads with equity in everything we and our departments do, and we stand against all forms of discrimination. Among our primary missions is to guard the civil rights of all Californians from acts of hate violence and unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. And one of our Four BCSH Pillars that unite and connect all of our departments is Opportunity – increasing access to services for vulnerable populations.

As you will see below, the announcements and updates we have to share with you this month all have equity and opportunity at their cores.

We continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to make the best possible use of the unprecedented funding in last year’s budget to create more affordable housing and end homelessness. With the California Blueprint budget announced by the Governor last month, we will be able to continue building momentum!

Funding For Shovel-Ready Projects

Governor Gavin Newsom last week announced more than $923 million in awards in Tier 1 of California Housing Accelerator funding to provide bridge financing to shovel-ready multifamily housing developments that were “stuck” because of a shortage of federal tax credits and bonds.

A total of 27 projects statewide have been approved thus far. Nearly all of them are expected to break ground this summer, providing new affordable homes quickly for people who need these new units the most – people experiencing homelessness and households with incomes below 30 percent of the Area Median Income.

The $1.75 billion California Housing Accelerator is part of the Governor’s California Comeback Plan he announced last year, which provided more than $10 billion in investments for more affordable housing.

Tier 2 awards will be announced in the next few weeks.

Accessory Dwelling Units – Casitas

Last week the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA)  launched the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Grant Program to provide homeowners with up to $25,000 to reimburse pre-development costs associated with the construction of an ADU.

An ADU is sometimes known as a granny flat, in-law unit, backyard cottage, casita, or secondary unit, and is an affordable and effective option to increase housing options. This program is designed for homeowners that meet income qualifications and live in disadvantaged communities.

For more information, visit: https://www.calhfa.ca.gov/adu/index.htm.

California Mortgage Assistance Program

CalHFA’s $1 billion California Mortgage Assistance Program is off to a good start. So far, the program has paid out more than $3.7 million to assist 105 households that are behind on their mortgage payments because of COVID-19. The average amount of assistance per households is $35,646, and most households (62.86 percent) are below 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Click on the link below to see the program dashboard.

Please continue to help us get the word out about this valuable program for homeowners who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. People who wish to apply should visit the California Mortgage Relief Program website. 

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