A Regional Solution
The October 2017 fires exacerbated an already significant housing shortage in Sonoma County and caused significant increases in rents and home prices. Rising costs are causing many essential workers to live in overcrowded homes, commute long distances, or move away, making it harder for employers—including businesses, hospitals, schools, and local governments—to recruit and retain a skilled workforce, and impacting our ability to meet local climate goals. Residents who remain in Sonoma County are left with reduced spending power, which is especially challenging for those experiencing poverty.
The City of Santa Rosa (City) and the County of Sonoma (County) have answered the call for action to address the housing crisis with a unique, creative, and collaborative response, the Renewal Enterprise District (RED), and the RED Housing Fund.
In December 2018, the City and the County formed the RED as a joint powers authority to operationalize a commitment to a regional approach for housing development, and to reflect and elevate Sonoma County values of advancing climate and disaster resiliency, ensuring housing affordability and equity, and honoring our community’s commitment to environmental protection and stewardship.
The City and County have committed a combined $20 million in loan capital to launch the RED Housing Fund, with the goal of accelerating higher density, multifamily housing production. The RED Housing Fund meets the equally urgent needs of replacing lost housing inventory and addressing the severe housing shortage.
The City and the County have worked tirelessly over the past five years to address housing challenges by creating conditions to densify downtown Santa Rosa and other appropriately planned areas. The RED Housing Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity, building on past work to drive housing development that meets community needs through expanded, pooled, and leveraged public and private financing. One of the primary goals of the RED Housing Fund is to create a balanced housing market in Santa Rosa, and more broadly Sonoma County, that addresses the region’s critical need for housing for all incomes. The RED Housing Fund seeks to catalyze a housing market that is affordable to area workers, and where all community members have equal and fair access to a diversity of homes located near transit, jobs, opportunity, and services in a vital economy.