Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Tuesday that the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund.

The funds will be used to make low-cost loans to produce critically needed new rental housing as well as recapitalize and preserve older affordable housing projects for middle-class families in Santa Barbara County.

“I am so pleased the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County has been awarded this important federal funding, particularly given the ongoing housing crisis and continual shortage of affordable housing in our area,” Capps said. “Jennifer McGovern and her dedicated team do exceptional work in our local communities, and will put these federal dollars to good use in ensuring that working middle-class families in Santa Barbara County have access to affordable housing.”

McGovern, president and CEO of the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County, added: “Affordable housing for working families and our most vulnerable populations remains a chronic need in our diverse Santa Barbara County communities. Due to limited state resources and the demise of local Redevelopment Agency funding for affordable housing, the CDFI Fund grant award to the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County is particularly timely and provides a welcomed infusion of capital needed to facilitate new affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in Santa Barbara County.”

» The CDFI Program Awards: Through the CDFI Program’s Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards, the CDFI Fund invests in and builds the capacity of for-profit and nonprofit community-based lending organizations known as Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs.

These organizations, certified as CDFIs by the U.S. Treasury Department, serve rural and urban low-income people and communities across the nation that lack adequate access to affordable financial products and services. Awards are granted through an annual competitive application process.

» The CDFI Fund: Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded nearly $1.3 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations and financial institutions through the CDFI Program, the Bank Enterprise Awards Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $29.5 billion in tax credit authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.