New partnership looks to improve farmworker housing in Riverside County

Taylor Martinez via Riverside County

Riverside County has a new partnership  aimed at helping mobile home park owners provide financing for improvements to farmworker housing and bring their housing community up to code.

In a 5-0 vote, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a unique agreement between the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC). RCAC, which specializes in rural markets, will provide construction loans and technical assistance to owners of unpermitted mobile home parks who would like to make improvements to their mobile home parks and bring them into code compliance. As part of this agreement, the county will guarantee some of the risk, which has been a hurdle to securing construction financing for improvements for mobile home park owners.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez views the program as an additional funding source and tool to stabilize communities, transform living conditions and bring hope by allowing unpermitted mobile home parks to receive the financing that’s necessary for them to become permitted and finally have the infrastructure for residents to have clean drinking water, working sanitation systems, permitted electrical systems, sidewalks, and paved roads.

“This partnership is an exciting and positive step in our county’s efforts to improve housing for our families,” said Supervisor Perez. “This can help us address substandard housing conditions, by bringing in capital from the private sector to make those improvements along with assistance from the county in securing these loans. I look forward to this program getting off the ground to assist park owners and provide safe, decent and better living conditions for families.”

Riverside County has previously partnered with Clearinghouse CDFI, a community development financial institution, to offer construction and permanent financing to mobile home park owners. They have done four loans in the eastern part of the county. However, Clearinghouse CDFI is no longer offering construction financing but, through this partnership with RCAC, the county will be able to bridge that gap and provide owners the ability to access the construction financing needed to rehabilitate their mobile home parks and bring them into code compliance. Once the improvements have been completed and the mobile home parks receive a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Riverside County Transportation & Land Management Agency, Clearinghouse CDFI will be the permanent financing lender.

The Housing Authority of the County of Riverside is looking to improve four parks per year through this new partnership.

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