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Housing crisis reaches ‘Summit’ in the Valley

Housing crisis reaches ‘Summit’ in the Valley

State agency leaders talk with Valley about how water, homelessness, climate change, transportation affect the housing crisis

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

VISALIA – State agency directors, developers, lenders, advocates, and local government officials will convene in Visalia this month to come up with a plan to address the housing crisis in the Valley. 

The 8th Annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit will be held on Thursday, September 19 at the Wyndham Hotel in Visalia from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Summit is hosted by the San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative (Collaborative), with support from the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State University (OCED) and the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH). Alicia Sebastian, associate director of the CCRH, said this year’s theme “A Home For All” seeks solutions to the diversity, equality, and geography issues of affordable housing.

“The summit provides an opportunity for special engagement between San Joaquin Valley communities struggling with housing and state agencies that provide the funding and support for housing programs,” Sebastian said. 

A Round Table discussion will include heavy hitters in the housing industry. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Robert Wiener, who has served as executive director of the California Coalition for Rural Housing, one of the state’s oldest low-income housing coalition. He has played a major role in federal and state housing policy and overseen over 10 federal grants for provision of technical assistance and training to community-based and tenants organizations, tribes, and local governments in the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state, including needs assessments and design and implementation of local housing and community development programs and strategies.

Sitting on the panel will be: Kim Dolbow Vann, director of USDA Rural Development in California; Louise Bedsworth, executive director of the Strategic Growth Council; Mark Stivers, acting deputy director for the Division of Financial Assistance; and Tia Boatman Patterson, executive director of California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). 

Appointed by the Trump Administration in November 2017, Dolbow Vann brings more than 20 years of experience and dedication to economic development and the improvement of rural life. Most recently, she spent 11 years as a Colusa County Supervisor representing the first district. During her tenure she served as the Chair of Rural Counties Representatives of California, and led the charge on all federal and state issues that affect rural counties. 

The Strategic Growth Council is a state agency that brings together multiple agencies and departments to support sustainable communities emphasizing strong economies, social equity and environmental stewardship. Prior to joining the council, Bedsworth led a number of collaborative research initiatives on climate change and community resiliency as deputy director of the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in Governor Jerry Brown’s office. Before joining OPR in 2011, Louise was a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, where her work focused on climate change adaptation, local government action on climate change, and transportation. 

Stivers administers the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s loan and grant programs. Prior to that, Stivers served 16 years as the primary housing consultant to the California Senate, where he focused on land use and affordable housing legislation.

Boatman Patterson has led CalHFA since being appointed by Gov. Brown in August 2014. She has previously worked as general counsel at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, a policy consultant for several California State Assembly Committees including Housing and Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly.

There will also be morning and afternoon breakout sessions that discuss housing policy, how water availability affects housing, solutions of homelessness, and climate change’s effect on housing sustainability. Morning sessions include: Housing Policy Updates, Water In The San Joaquin Valley, Breaking Silos and Bringing Change: Tools for Equitable Community Development, and Housing and Transportation: MPO Planning Grants. Afternoon breakout sessions include: Creative Solutions for Addressing Homelessness in San Joaquin Valley, Shining Light on Gap Funding and Grid Resiliency for Multifamily Affordable Housing Developers, Transformative Climate Communities, and Lessons from Lon-Time Community Development Leaders. 

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