That work – identifying short-, medium- and long-term strategies to make sure that those vital contributors to our community can live here – has been a major focus of the City of Mill Valley in recent years, and the long-overdue, much-needed conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion in town have raised the stakes even more in recent months.
The City Council is set to consider on Sept. 8 a program that would take a step in the right direction.
The proposal is to sign a $150,000 agreement with Covia, a Walnut Creek-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to “promote and cultivate healthy communities for positive aging,” to create “House Mill Valley,” a program that would match residents with more house than they need with people looking for more affordable housing opportunities than Mill Valley currently offers.
In 2017, the council hosted an affordable housing summit and backed an affordable housing ordinance that includes a 1 percent City fee to be applied to all new housing projects and remodels costing $100,000 or more. City officials say the fee could generate approximately $375,000 annually, with revenue going into an affordable housing trust fund. The options on how to deploy that funding include acquiring properties, building multi-unit projects, renovating existing developments or finding ways to subsidize rental rates for workforce housing.
Covia’s “House Mill Valley” program is one such use. In March 2020, the council approved its guidelines for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, establishing the priorities for the use, distribution, and expenditure of trust fund proceeds. Those five priorities, listed here, include “projects that leverage existing, underutilized housing stock to create more affordable housing rental opportunities, such as a home match program (connecting homeowners with local community members interested in housing).”
MORE INFO ON COVIA’S HOME MATCH PROGRAM: