The City of Fresno, located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is the largest City in the California's Central Valley. The City is surrounded by prime agricultural land, and is home to people that represent more than 70 different nationalities. The City of Fresno is where Fresno County government is headquartered.
The City of Fresno has crafted a Consolidated Plan that serves as a planning document the City proposes to follow over the course of the next five years. One of the components of the Consolidated Plan is a "One Year Action Plan" which outlines the City's plan for expending approximately $12 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds. These funds will be primarily spent on housing and neighborhood livability activities.
In order to ensure that the City adequately represented the needs of its neighborhoods in the Consolidated Plan, the City used the Housing and Community Development Commission (HCDC) hearings as a forum for gathering comments from the public, and the City also conducted meetings in various neighborhoods throughout the City. The HCDC membership is composed of appointees from the City Council, and this body is charged with making recommendations for funding of community development activities. City staff at the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization convened eight meetings in neighborhoods throughout the City to solicit comments from citizens on the need for community development and affordable housing activities. In addition, HCDC convened three meetings to consider comments from the public on community development and affordable housing needs, one hearing to consider requests for funding, and one hearing to consider recommending that the Consolidated Plan be approved by the City Council. On May 30, 1995, the City Council approved the Consolidated Plan. The Fresno Bee was used to publish notices and articles to inform the public about public hearings, and to inform them that the Consolidated Plan, as approved by the City Council, was available for final review.
The City of Fresno is the largest City within Fresno County, and is the largest City in California's central valley. As of April 1, 1990, a total of 121,747 households resided within the City's boundaries, composing approximately 55% of the County's total population. Breaking the 1990 population data down by racial and ethnic categories, the City saw a 591% increase in the number of Asian/Pacific Islanders between 1980 and 1990. There was also an increase of 104% and 105% respectively, for Native Americans and Hispanics over the same time frame. There was a more modest increase for Whites (28%) and African-Americans (38%) during the decade.
Hispanics households are generally located in the Southeast and Central portions of the City, while South East Asian households predominate in the Central and Pinedale (North) sections of the City. African-American households tend to be found in the Southeast, Central and Calwa sections of the City. The MFI for the Fresno Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was determined to be $29,969 in 1990. Statistics from 1990 also indicate that 41% of the City households had incomes that were at or below 80% of the area median family income (MFI), which HUD defines as low and moderate incomes. The low and moderate income neighborhoods are located mainly in the Central, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest sections of the City.
Unemployment in 1980 was 7.8% and in 1990 was 8.5%. In the Fresno MSA as of June, 1995, he unemployment rate was 13.3%. The largest employers in Fresno included governmental agencies, agricultural and service industries. Information supplied to the City by HUD indicates that 34% of the White non-Hispanic households have incomes of less than 80% of the MFI, compared to 67% of the Asian/Pacific Islander households, 62% of the African-American households, 56% of the Hispanic households, and 53% of the Native American households.
Two critical housing needs are identified in the City's Consolidated Plan: increasing the affordability of housing, and rehabilitating the existing housing stock. To increase the number of affordable rental and ownership housing units, the City plans to facilitate the construction of housing designed especially for large families. To preserve housing, the City plans to continue with its code enforcement program, provide financial assistance for both renter and purchasers, and rehabilitation of existing housing units. The City has determined that approximately 4,465 units of housing need to be developed over the next five years in order to address the housing needs of the low and moderate income households.
The City has determined through analyzing 1990 census data that 31% of all households live in either substandard housing, or pay more than 30% of their income to rent. The City has also found that 58% of City households that rent are likely to dedicate more than 30% of their income towards rental payments, while another 38.8% of renters pay more than 50% of their income to rent. The 1990 City gross rent was $436, which represents an 82% increase in rental payments from 1980. According to the City, the 1990 median housing value was $86,400, or 3.3 times the median household income. It is interesting to note that the ratio of median household income to median housing value was 4.5 in 1980, meaning that housing was more affordable in 1990 than in 1980.
The City estimates that 27% of all homeowners have a housing cost burden exceeding 30% of their income, while another 11.1% of homeowners must dedicate more than 50% of their income to housing costs. The City estimates that a family of four with an income of $20,760 (60% MFI) could afford a house valued at $57,000 with a conventional loan, and would pay approximately $520 per month in housing costs. However, since the average price of a home in the City is $86,400, much of the single family housing in the City is not affordable to families in this income bracket without some other form of financial assistance such as the Lower Income Homebuyers Program. The City has estimated that there are 148,162 housing units within its boundaries. A 1995 study of housing vacancy rates has reported an 8.8% vacancy rate for multi-family rental units in complexes exceeding 20 units. A separate study has found the vacancy rate in certain areas to be as high as 20% for multi-family rental units in complexes exceeding more than 20 units.
Although statistical data indicates that the median value of single family homes became more affordable in 1990 than in 1980, the cost burden for owning in 1990 was still excessive. As stated above, the cost for renting housing has increased 82% between 1980 and 1990. Therefore, there is a need for providing assistance to relieve housing cost burden for owners and renters. According to the City, the Hispanic, African-American and Southeast Asian households in the City tend to have a great need for affordable housing in general, and more specifically, Hispanic and Southeast Asian households have a greater need for units that meet the needs of large families. The City has determined that more than 50% of these racial/ethnic populations are low and moderate income. Since these racial/ethnic households are concentrated in areas with high percentages of substandard housing, another critical need is to rehabilitate existing housing.
The City has estimated that there are approximately 3,200 individuals in the City that are homeless. Of this number, 1,425 individuals are members of families, while the balance, 1,575, are single adults, and 100 are homeless youths not in families. Of this population, the City has estimated that 56.4% of the homeless that have been counted are sheltered, the remaining 43.5% are not accessing shelters. Homeless families and individuals can be sheltered at eleven different facilities which provide a total of 676 beds. The majority of shelters are targeted to homeless families, however there are two facilities dedicated to homeless persons with HIV/AIDS, four facilities that target homeless persons with alcohol and drug dependencies, and one facility for the severely mentally ill homeless. The City has determined that there is a continuing need to fund shelters, to assist organizations that help the homeless to improve service delivery.
Fresno has over 17,500 housing units with some type of Federal, State or local assistance. Of those units, approximately 1,100 are public housing units, and nearly 3,500 are Section 8 rental units. The remaining 13,000 have received other Federal assistance, from such programs as: HUD's Sections 202, 207, 220 and 221(d)(3), 234, and 236 programs; Low Income Housing Tax Credits, State Bond Financed housing development, City mortgage revenue bonds, and other City-assisted units.
The Fresno Housing Authority does not plan to demolish any units, but does plan to lose 122 single family units which will be sold to low income families. The Housing Authority also anticipates losing 23 units of multifamily housing due to the planned extension of a highway. The current vacancy rate for public housing is 2.5%. There are 164 one bedroom units, 490 two bedroom units, and 473 three bedroom or larger units. The last time the City accepted applications for the Section 8 program was in November, 1994. After a four week period, 10,000 applications were received. Persons that are given a priority for placement include displaced persons, families living in substandard housing or currently in a shelter, families paying more than 50% of their income towards rent or are living in overcrowded conditions. As of February, 1995 all certificates and vouchers have been fully utilized.
The lack of affordable housing is a critical housing problem in the City. The City believes that the major obstacles to the development of affordable housing are the lack of adequate financing mechanisms and a concern about future interest rate trends, planning the necessary infrastructure needs for future growth, costs of both labor and material, urban growth management fees which are based upon demand on municipal services and opposition to high density, publicly subsidized multi-family developments. Based upon review of City policies related to annexation delays, development review procedures, environmental assessments, filing fees, and public improvement costs, the City has determined that it has taken positive steps to decrease potential obstacles to affordable housing development.
There are no court orders, consent decrees, or HUD-imposed sanctions that affect the provision of fair housing remedies.
Fresno estimates that as many as 72,000 residential units (55% of all units within the City) may contain lead-based paint. Based upon these figures, the City also estimates that there are approximately 26,635 residential units in which low and moderate income families live which may have lead-based paint hazards. As of July 1, 1993, the Community Health Department has identified 39 cases that had blood lead levels above the acceptable threshold. Follow up examinations determined that over 50% of the children identified with elevate blood lead levels had resided in the Fresno area six months or less, which leads the City to conclude that lead-based paint hazards is not a significant threat to Fresno households.
Over the next five years, the City of Fresno projects that the needs of the residents will relate to affordable housing, improvement of the infrastructure, and the development and implementation of an anti-poverty plan. Community Development needs include housing rehabilitation, homebuyer assistance and code enforcement programs, improvement of public facilities (eg. water, sewer, street, and recreational facilities), provision of crime awareness services, and implementation of an anti-poverty strategy which targets homeless prevention, support services for the homeless, creates transitional and permanent housing solutions, and provides for economic development opportunities.
The City's five year housing and community development strategy is the centerpiece of Fresno's Consolidated Plan. Fresno has identified priorities for assisting households and for addressing infrastructure issues, and introduces an anti-poverty strategy to be implemented over the next five years.
The need for affordable housing options as well as the preservation of existing housing, and the housing needs of large, low income families are the main priorities for the City over the next five years. In terms of community development priorities, infrastructure projects like street and sidewalk improvements, social service projects, and economic development activities are top priority projects that will be the types of activities the City plans to implement during the period covered by the Consolidated Plan.
Priorities for Affordable Housing The City has concluded that their is a shortage of affordable 3-4 bedroom rental and homeowner units both in public and private housing developments. As a result, Fresno has determined that housing for large families with incomes at or below 50% of the MFI is a high priority. Assisting potential homeowners with downpayment assistance, and current homeowners who must rehabilitate their housing are the two other major housing priorities identified by the City. Code enforcement has also been identified by the City as a high priority activity.
Priorities for Homelessness Alleviation With the assistance of homeless service providers, the City has concluded that there is a great need for the provision of emergency shelters for both families and singles, as well as the need for transitional housing and permanent housing options. Therefore, Fresno has made shelter provision and the outreach and assessment of the needs of homeless families/singles as high priorities.
Priority Community Development Needs Social service activities, crime awareness and prevention economic development and improvements to the infrastructure are the needs given the highest priority. In terms of social service activities, the City plans to focus on youth and senior programs, health and substance abuse services, tenant/landlord and fair housing counseling, programs for the disabled, and crime awareness programs have been identified by the Community as priority activities by the City. The major focus for economic development activities, will be on commercial and industrial businesses that create jobs for lower income households.
Fresno has identified the provision of safe housing, transitional housing opportunities and increased employment opportunities as the most effective anti-poverty strategies that the City could implement. Therefore, Fresno has four elements to their strategy: 1. prevention of homelessness, emergency, transitional and permanent housing for the homeless; 2. poverty prevention; 3. economic development; 4. external support - public services.
Resources available to the City of Fresno for housing and community development activities include CDBG, HOME, and ESG funds awarded to the City by HUD, and Fresno County has made CDBG and ESG funds available to non-profits located within the City of Fresno, especially for homeless services. A source of local funds available for housing activities is the Redevelopment Agency's 20% housing set aside.
Fresno's Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization administers the City's CDBG, HOME and ESG programs. There are four divisions within Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization : Neighborhood Standards, Housing Development, Neighborhood Services, and Community Sanitation. Staff from the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization work closely with both the Project Homeless Coalition, the Human Services Coalition, and the Fresno Housing Authority. The City also coordinates efforts with the various colleges and universities in identifying needs, undertaking housing surveys, and providing assistance for community service activities. The City also has a relationship with several social service agencies, including the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission, and the YWCA. In terms of fostering economic development partnerships, the City plans to hold an "Economic Development Roundtable Forum" with the Chamber of Commerce, Fresno Revitalization Corporation, the Economic Development Corporation, Valley Small Business Corporation and other leading organizations to discuss ways to attract and retain businesses and jobs for lower income families in Fresno's inner City. The City is hopeful that its relationships with all the aforementioned organizations will continue well beyond the next five years.
Fresno's One Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $12 million in CDBG, HOME and ESG funds, including program income. These funds will be targeted mainly to housing, public facilities and economic development activities, including:
Funds to rehabilitate both owner occupied and rental housing will be open to housing throughout the City, with a priority given to housing in the Pinedale, El Dorado Park, and Highway City neighborhoods, and the area bounded by Hughes, Ashlan, Chestnut and Jensen. Code enforcement, new construction activities, homeless activities, economic development, and public facilities projects will be funded throughout the City.
The Fresno Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization and Budget Management Division are the lead agencies for the CDBG, HOME and ESG programs.
The City hopes to provide assistance for the development of 50 housing units designed for large related families, inspect and resolve housing code violations for 150 residential units, develop 150 units of rental and homeownership housing, provide downpayment assistance for the purchase of 500 housing units, and rehabilitation of 40 owner occupied units and 40 rental units.
MAP 1 identifies the points of interest in the City.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts low-moderate income areas and Hispanic concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts low-moderate income areas and Asian concentration levels.
MAP 5 depicts low-moderate income areas and Black concentration levels.
MAP 6 depicts low-moderate income areas and areas of unemployment.
MAP 7 depicts low-moderate income areas, areas of unemployment, and proposed HUD funded project(s).
TABLE (without Map) provides information about the project(s).