Kaiser Permanente Gives Over $2.5 Million in Grants to Sonoma County Affordable Housing Efforts

Kaiser Permanente will give over $2.5 million in grants to support Sonoma County affordable housing projects as part of an ongoing effort to help the region rebuild and recover in the wake of the 2017 North Bay firestorm.

The Sonoma County Housing Fund, an initiative by the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, and a separate fund being launched by the Renewal Enterprise District, a joint-city-county agency, will each receive $1 million.

Peter Rumble, chief executive of the chamber, said the fund will use money to make loans to help cover pre-development costs for affordable multifamily projects in Santa Rosa and across the county.

The San Jose-based Housing Trust Silicon Valley will put in additional millions to the local housing fund as part of a matching partnership.

This is the second $1 million grant the fund has received from Kaiser. That initial donation is helping finance hundreds of units at three properties, including the planned 50-unit Stony Point Flats complex in southwest Santa Rosa.

“This additional million will help to generate approximately the same amount of housing,” Rumble said. “We certainly have the pipeline for it.”

The Renewal Enterprise District’s fund, meanwhile, will put its $1 million toward helping finance large-scale market-rate and affordable apartment buildings near job centers and public transit. It was created this year with $20 million in PG&E settlement money from the 2017 wildfires.

Officials say that fund to start offering piecemeal loans of up to around 10% of a project’s total cost to four or five planned developments starting early next year.

“We’re looking at trying to close the gaps that have been a barrier to building affordable, denser, more environmentally friendly projects in downtown Santa Rosa and other areas,” said County Supervisor Chris Coursey, the district’s vice chair.

Additionally, the Oakland-based regional healthcare provider will give $650,000 to help the non-profit St. Vincent De Paul Sonoma County convert the Gold Room Motel in Santa Rosa into 54 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless residents.

“Housing insecurity threatens to widen health equity gaps,” said Tarek Salaway, a senior vice president with Kaiser, in a statement. “Increasing access to safe, affordable housing in Sonoma County is core to our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve.”