Where: Santa Rosa, California

Issue: High housing costs in Napa and Sonoma counties price most low-income families out of the market.

Outcome: RCAC’s Development Solutions staff provided development expertise and the Loan Fund provided a $261,800 predevelopment loan to Ortiz Family Plaza, a 30-unit farmworker affordable housing project.

Larkfield-Wikiup, an unincorporated area north of downtown Santa Rosa, is home to low-income farmworkers who labor in the region’s prosperous wine-making industry. Affordable housing in this California agricultural is in very short supply for the more than 700 farmworker families who live there. Low-vacancy rates and long waiting lists are the norm. Ortiz Plaza, LLP aims to bridge this housing gap.

Seven years ago, the company planned a 30-unit housing project, seeking to attract farmworkers earning much less than the area’s median household income.

The company, however, encountered difficulty financing the project. RCAC’s Development Solutions helped to develop the project budget, close construction financing and ensured that the project could generate addi­tional equity from tax credits

In early 2016, Ortiz Plaza applied for an RCAC loan so that the company could begin construction. Once completed, the project will provide 30 two-bedroom apartments, a playground, garden spaces and a community center, where the nonprofit plans to offer several services.

In addition, Ortiz Plaza will meet RCAC green lending criteria including solar orientation and recycled building materials, water-conserving fixtures and landscaping, and energy star-rated appliances. Farmworkers and their families celebrated at a groundbreaking celebration in June. The project is expected to be complete in mid-2017.