U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Located in the center of California, Fresno County encompasses 6,000 square miles, most of which is prime agricultural land. With a total population of 733,000 in 1993, Fresno County is the eleventh largest County in California. The County is comprised of a central city (Fresno), fourteen smaller cities and twenty-five unincorporated communities. Fresno County benefits from a broad cultural diversity represented by over 70 different nationalities. People from every socio-economic strata have migrated to Fresno to take advantage of the affordable housing, and expanding job base. The City of Fresno has developed its own Consolidated Plan, and therefore the statistics for the County exclude data from the City of Fresno.

Action Plan

Fresno County's Consolidated Plan represents both the needs identified by public and private agencies and the citizenry of the County, as well as the County's plans for addressing these needs over a five year period, beginning in July, 1995. The County's Consolidated Plan includes a One Year Action Plan which lists projects planned to address identified needs totaling$6,206,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds; $1,924,000 in Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) funds; and $207,000 in Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds. These funds will be dedicated to projects throughout the County, especially in the participating Cities of Clovis, Coalinga, Firebaugh, Kerman, Kingsburg, Orange Cove, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger and Selma and 17 unincorporated areas.

Citizen Participation

To assist the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in making both policy and funding decisions related to the Consolidated Plan, the Board created 4 citizen advisory committees: the Consolidated Plan Committee regarding the Plan; the Housing and Community Development Citizen's Advisory Committee regarding the CDBG Program; the Affordable Housing Task Force regarding housing policies, programs and the HOME program; and the Human Resources Advisory Board to assist the Board regarding CDBG funded social programs and on the ESG Program. The membership on these committees was diverse, and included citizens from the County (including representation from the unincorporated areas of the County), and representatives from housing, real estate and finance fields. The County conducted two public hearings, one on March 7, 1995, to receive testimony from citizens on housing and community development needs. On May 23, 1995, the County conducted its second public hearing regarding the proposed Consolidated Plan. On April 22, 1995, the County published a summary of the proposed Consolidated Plan in the largest County newspaper, the Fresno Bee for public comment period of 30 days. In order to generate interest in the May 23, 1995, public hearing, County staff mailed an information letter to Cities participating in the County's CDBG, HOME and ESG programs, citizen groups, interested citizens, and to the County Housing Authority. No written comments were received regarding the County's Plan during its 30 day comment period, and no written or verbal comments were received at the County's public hearing on the Consolidated Plan.


Between 1980 and 1993, the population in Fresno County increased by 218,679 new residents. The majority of Fresno County residents are White (51%), and Hispanic (35%), and African-Americans and persons of Asian descent were 5% and 8% respectively. Hispanics households have concentrated in the Western portion of the County and comprise the majority of the population in most of the Cities that participate in the County's CDBG and HOME programs. Asians/Pacific Islander households have concentrated in the participating Cities located in the North central part of the County.

The 1990 median family income (MFI) was $29,969, and 37.1% of the County population had income below 80% of the area median family income. Both African-American and Hispanic households were disproportionately represented in the very-low income category (incomes between 0 and 50% of the MFI). Hispanic homeowners with an MFI between 31 - 50% experienced disproportionate housing needs, and African-American homeowners with incomes ranging from 51 - 80% of the MFI experienced disproportionate housing needs.



Since 1953, Fresno County has been the leading agricultural county in the nation. Direct employment in agriculture provides an average of 63,500 jobs, or 19.9% of all wage and salary employment in Fresno's Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA). However, the County' unemployment rate for 1994 was 13.3%, while the nation's unemployment rate was 6.1%. In 1990, the County's unemployment rate was 9.0%, while the nation's rate was 5.5%. Fresno County has a higher incidence of poverty compared to California, and the nation. The poverty rate increased in the County from 14.5% in 1980 to 21.4% in 1990. The poverty rate for California is 12.5% and 13.1% for the nation.

Housing Needs

The housing needs identified by the County in the Consolidated Plan relate to the need to make housing more affordable for both renters and owners, and to assist property owners in making necessary repairs to housing. To address these needs, the County has proposed down-payment assistance programs, rehabilitation and self-help construction programs. Of low income renter households (incomes 50% of less of the MFI), both small and large families have the greatest housing needs in terms of housing cost burden. Large renter families also have the greatest need in terms of living in housing with physical defects, and in units that are overcrowded. As stated earlier, Hispanic homeowners with an MFI between 31 - 50% experienced disproportionate housing needs, and African-American homeowners with incomes ranging from 51 - 80% of the MFI experienced disproportionate housing needs. Overall, owners in the County have a significant need for removing physical defects and for addressing issues of overcrowdedness.

Housing Market Conditions

Between 1980 and 1990, while the County's population grew by 29.7%, the number of housing units in the jurisdiction increased by 21.6%. This trend constitutes a major reversal from the period between 1970 and 1980 when the countywide number of housing units increased 42.7% while the population increased by 24.5%. The current population growth is outstripping the housing inventory, and this situation has led to the per person per unit rate to increase. Some of the participating Cities have seen a significant increase in the development of housing between 1980 and 1990, while other Cities and unincorporated areas had a net loss of housing units during this same period. Overall, homeownership for the entire County population decreased from 58.9% in 1980 to 54.3% in 1990, while the number of renters in the County increased from 41.1% in 1980 to 45.7% in 1990. The 1990 vacancy rate for owner-occupied housing was 1.5%, while the vacancy rate for rental housing during the same period was 5.5%. The County found in its smaller cities that the vacancy rates for both owner and rental housing was below the optimal marks of 2-3% for owner housing and 5% for rental housing. According to a 1981 housing quality survey (which has been supplemented with additional data from 1990-1991 surveys for many of the cities and unincorporated areas), approximately 3.4% of all housing units within the County's jurisdiction are substandard, while another 8.0% of units are in need of major rehabilitation.

Finally, the County estimates that in 1992 an average of 33,200 persons were hired to work on farms. During the peak month of August, the number of seasonal farmworkers rose to 66,740.

Affordable Housing Needs

Housing costs out paced gains in income for both renters and owners, according to data from 1990. In 1980, ownership costs for units with mortgages represented 20.6% of household income and gross rent represented 27.2% of household income. By 1990, ownership costs had increased to 22.3% and gross rent had increased to 29.2% of household income, which represented a percentage increase in housing costs for owners in the County of 109.6%, and 81.9% for renters. In most of the participating cities and unincorporated areas of Fresno County, the percentage increase in contract rent rose dramatically; the low end of the range was in the City of Clovis, where the rent increased by 73.8%, while the high end of the range was in the unincorporated area of Caruthers, where the rent increased by 110.1%. For owners living in the City of Huron, housing costs increased by 70.6%, representing the low end of the range of rising housing costs, while owners in the City of Reedley saw the highest percentage increase (138.6%) in housing costs in 1990. Of low income renter households (incomes 50% of less of the MFI), both small and large families have the greatest housing needs in terms of housing cost burden. Large renter families also have the greatest need in terms of living in housing with physical defects. Further, very low, and low income elderly renters also experience significant housing cost burdens.

Homeless Needs

According to a recent estimate from Fresno County's Department of Social Services, approximately 4000 persons were homeless within the County limits in 1994 The County survey estimates that 1,839, or 46% of the persons identified as homeless were in families, another 950 persons (24%) were youths not in families, and the remaining 1,211 (30%) persons were single homeless adults. Another homeless study conducted by the Adult Interagency Task Force on Homelessness in 1988 focused on the characteristics of the homeless in Fresno County. This study found that an equal percentage of Whites and Hispanics that were homeless were assisted at seven shelters in the County. The data indicated that 39% of the shelter clientele were Hispanic, 39% were White, and homeless African-American's made up 18% of the homeless population accessing shelters in the County.

There are seven emergency shelters operating throughout the County, two serve homeless youths, four serve families, one serves single men, and one shelter is for battered women with children. The County is also served by five transitional shelters: one serves homeless youths, one serves battered women with children, one assists single women with substance abuse issues, and one serves homeless persons with severe mental illness, and another serves homeless persons with HIV/AIDS. There are also 979 beds in board and care facilities for the mentally ill. Another special needs population is the migrant farmworker family. The County Housing Authority manages a total of 399 units dedicated for use by migrant farmworkers and their families. The County estimates that there are an additional 1,491 units available to migrant farmworkers - dormitories, family units, mobile homes, and recreational vehicles. Many social service agencies provide supportive services to the homeless, including advocacy, job and housing counseling, medical and dental care, food and clothing, substance abuse and mental illness counseling.

The Fresno County Project Homeless Coalition has identified the need to coordinate services amongst the homeless service providers through a 24-hour hotline number linked to a computer database. An assessment of the facilities and services available, as well a study of the characteristics of the homeless will be undertaken by the Coalition. Further, the County plans to implement a rehabilitation program specifically targeted to seasonal farmworker housing.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Housing Authority of Fresno County owns and manages 993 public housing units located in 31 complexes in 16 different communities. Further, the Housing Authority administers approximately 5,000 existing Section 8 existing certificates. Another 179 units have been assisted through the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program. Rental assistance to 84 individuals who are physically, mentally or developmentally disabled have received assistance from the California Department of Housing and Community Development through the Section 8 Aftercare Program. Through the assistance of the Rural Economic and Community Development Service (formerly the Farmers Home Administration), an additional 1,439 units have been assisted throughout the County. The number of families on the waiting list for both Section 8 and public housing is 10,750. The Section 8 program was last accepting applications in November, 1994. Only a limited number of certificates/vouchers are available on an ongoing basis as a result of turnover. The Housing Authority has determined that 903 of the units it owns and manages were built between 1942 and 1954, and are in need of funds for modernization. The Housing Authority estimates that it will need $9,633,521 for physical improvements, and another $1,028,000 for management improvements. It is expected that the Housing Authority will lose 35 single family units from its housing stock through conversion to homeownership. The Housing Authority has received additional funds to purchase another 35 single family homes to replace the homes that are being sold.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The County determined that in several instances the amount of land designated for future residential development should be increased by updating the community plans for unincorporated communities. Further, Article 34 of the State's Constitution requires voters in a particular area to approve a referendum authorizing the construction of public housing units. This requirement has restricted the development of affordable housing. Since the County Housing Authority can not participate in the passage of the referendum, it requires local community support. Many city officials have indicated that they do not have the staff to work on putting together successful measures on the ballot. As a result, the cities in the County have not been able to apply for many housing grant programs.

Fair Housing

There are no court orders, consent decrees, or HUD-imposed sanctions that affect the provision of fair housing remedies.

Lead-Based Paint

Fresno County estimates that 17,401 housing units contain a potential lead-based paint hazard. The County has also estimated that between 5,400 to 6,900 are occupied by very low and low income households. The County did not have any data on the number of children exposed to lead-based paint hazards. The County Housing Authority does systematic abatement of its units, the County Health Department conducts testing and evaluation, and the provision of information on lead-based paint hazards to homeowners and tenants that are participating in housing rehabilitation programs administered by the County.

Community Development Needs

Based upon task force meetings, public hearings, and discussions with other agencies, the County has determined that its community development needs include infrastructure improvements: water and sewer lines, streets, sidewalks, and flood drains. The County also identified the need for accessibility improvements, and public service activities targeted to the elderly, disabled, youths, and persons with substance addictions as being top priority activities. Crime awareness training, health services, and childcare services are also identified as being of the highest priority.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The County has identified the lack of affordable housing and the need to preserve existing housing as the main housing issues effecting County residents. Therefore, the County has developed programs to address these issues: homeownership assistance, owner and rental housing rehabilitation, and self-help housing construction. Community development objectives focus on infrastructure improvements (water, sewer, sidewalks, streets, and flood drains), and providing social services to the elderly, disabled, and youths, as well as providing substance abuse counseling, health services, childcare services, and crime awareness training.

Housing Priorities

Priorities for Affordable Housing include increasing the supply of affordable housing by a implementing self-help construction, and providing downpayment assistance to prospective low and moderate income homeowners. The County also proposes to implement rehabilitation programs that are focused on owner and rental housing, and on seasonal housing used by migrant farmworkers.

Priorities for Homelessness Alleviation include the improvement of homeless services through the creation of an interactive service delivery system, increasing community awareness and involvement with homeless and housing issues by developing a publicity and public information system that can be accessed by all homeless service providers within the County. Improving communication between homeless service providers by convening monthly case management meetings, and improve accountability by ensuring that all homeless service providers adhere to minimum shelter standards developed by the Homeless Coalition. The Homeless Coalition also plans to focus on homeless prevention by developing an emergency response system that can provide such things as food, clothing, rent/utility assistance, and landlord/tenant mediation services.

Priorities for Non-Homeless Persons with Special Needs can be addressed most directly through the development and preservation of affordable housing. For example, the County has proposed to implement a program that will improve seasonal farmworker housing through rehabilitation.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Priority Community Development Needs focus on comprehensive neighborhood infrastructure development and improvements in the unincorporated areas of the County, such as water, sewer, flood drain, street and sidewalk improvements. Other priorities for the unincorporated areas include economic development, activities that will alleviate serious safety and health issues, and fire protection.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Fresno County's anti-poverty strategy focuses on economic development. In 1977 the County Board of Supervisors adopted goals to decrease unemployment and underemployment, improve the economic well-being of County residents, and to enhance the economic base and comparative advantages while maintaining Fresno County's environment. These goals have been renewed by the Board of Supervisors. The County has determined that 25,847 households in their jurisdiction have housing problems and have incomes at or below 80% of the are MFI. Approximately 78% of these households pay more than 30% of their gross incomes for shelter and utilities. The County proposes to reduce the number of households below the poverty level by increasing full-time employment in jobs that pay better than minimum wages. To spur economic development, various plans and applications have been devised by the County, including an Urban Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Strategic Plan, the Northwestern Fresno County Rural Enterprise application, Plan for a new University of California Campus, and a review of the Private Industry Council.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The primary Federal resources are HUD's CDBG, HOME, ESG, Section 8 Certificates and Vouchers Program, Public Housing Comprehensive Grant Programs, the Supportive Housing Program (for the homeless), the Rural Economic and Community Development Service's 502 Program, the Housing Preservation Grant Program, and the 515 Loan Program. State resources include the Low Income Tax Credit Program, and the Rental Housing Construction Program.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The Community Development Division within Fresno County's Public Works and Development Services Department is responsible for developing the Consolidated Plan and administering the County's CDBG and HOME programs, but also works with other agencies to implement other community development programs and policies. The Public Works and Development Services Department works closely with the County Department of Social Services, which administers the ESG program and other homeless programs. The County Health Services Agency works in conjunction with Public Works and Development Services on water regulation and sewer systems, code enforcement, employee housing, lead toxicity testing and mental health issues. While the County Public Works and Development Services Department has developed links with other public and private agencies to carry out community development and affordable housing activities, the lack of adequate staff resources at the level of the participating communities makes it difficult to implement comprehensive housing programs. However, the County will continue to take a leadership role in providing technical support and information.


Description of Key Projects

Fresno County's One Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $8.3 million in CDBG, HOME and ESG funds, in addition to program income. These funds will be targeted mainly to housing and public facilities activities, including:

Since the exact location of many housing activities and public services projects were not known at the time the Consolidated Plan was developed, some housing activities will not be identified on Map 5.


The housing activities to be funded this fiscal year will be scattered throughout the County's participating cities and unincorporated areas. Funding for public facilities activities will be split approximately 80% in participating cities, and 20% in unincorporated areas.

Lead Agencies

The Community Development Division of the Fresno County Public Works and Services Department is the lead entity for the CDBG and HOME programs. The Fresno County Department of Social Services is responsible for administering the County's ESG program.

Housing Goals

Fresno County estimates that in the first year of the period covered by the Consolidated Plan, downpayment assistance will be provided to purchase 140 units, 57 owner occupied units will be rehabilitated, 15 rental units will be rehabilitated, another 7 seasonal rental units will be rehabilitated, and 30 units will be developed through self-help construction. In all, a total of 249 units are expected to be assisted during the County's 1995-1996 fiscal year.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 depicts Neighborhood Segments and proposed HUD funded projects.

TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Fresno County's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Mr. N. Dean Huseby
Program Manager, Community Development Division
Fresno County Public Works and Development Services Dept.
PH: (209) 262-4292

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.