Housing program aims for teachers

GILROY
– Silicon Valley teachers in search of owning a house are the
key targets of an assistance program’s new outreach effort to get
Santa Clara County families into affordable homes.
GILROY – Silicon Valley teachers in search of owning a house are the key targets of an assistance program’s new outreach effort to get Santa Clara County families into affordable homes.

The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, a non-profit partnership between private and public agencies, announced its most recent outreach campaign last week. The group will use interest from its $20 million nest egg and an additional $4 million of soon-to-be-raised funds to help roughly 2,000 families, and potentially hundreds of teachers, acquire the loans they need to buy homes.

“We managed to help 150 teachers last year, but on the other hand you can always help more,” Housing Trust spokesperson Maury Kendall said. “We’re trying to get the word out to teachers that they are eligible for these loans.”

The Santa Clara County Office of Education, the California Teachers Association and other education agencies will help the Housing Trust get the word out. Plans are to send e-mails and letters to administrators and principals around the county, Kendall said.

The Housing Trust did not have firm numbers available, but Kendall said that teachers in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister were able to land loans through the Housing Trust this past year.

“There are programs out there that help you live in the county you work in. Affordable housing in the county is still not cheap. The phrase is kind of an oxymoron,” Kendall said. “Our hope is that people hear about this and say, ‘I never knew about this program, maybe there are other programs that can help me too.'”

The Housing Trust helps teachers and lower income families buy and rent homes. In the case of housing purchases, the organization often helps families make a down payment or cover closing costs by granting affordable loans.

“When people are at the point where they can afford a mortgage but don’t have the money to make a down payment, that’s where we usually come in,” Kendall said.

The Housing Trust, which originated in 1999 and raised its initial $20 million in 2000, also doles out construction loans to developers that build affordable homes and apartments. More than 100 affordable living units are being built in Gilroy using funds from Housing Trust loans.

The initial $20 million dollar capitalization of the trust was raised from a broad array of sources, including private foundations, Silicon Valley corporations, the County of Santa Clara and 15 cities in Santa Clara County, including Gilroy.

Details: 297-0222 or www.housingtrustscc.org.

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