The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has recently awarded the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County a $5,000 contribution to support of the agency’s Workforce Homebuyer Programs.

The generous grant provides HTF with key operating resources as we continue to implement this exciting new initiative.

“Wells Fargo understands the importance of the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County and the great work they do to create sustainable communities for residents in the area,” said Milton Dellossier, Wells Fargo charitable giving manager. “This grant will go a long way to help strengthen and reinforce the efforts of this organization as they focus on helping residents buy homes.”

This past year, the Housing Trust Fund closed 28 first-time homebuyer down payment loans for low-income families under our North County Workforce Homebuyer Program. The loans, which averaged about $30,000 per homebuyer, enabled qualified homebuyers to buy an entry-level home in the community where they work and achieve a stable residence that strengthens the family and neighborhood.

Its homebuyer program helped diverse low-income households in the North County communities of Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe purchase their first affordable home. Families with children comprised 43 percent of the homebuyers; single-parent female head of household comprised 25 percent, couples 21 percent and individuals 11 percent; 86 percent of the homebuyers were of Hispanic origin. The homebuyer’s average household income was 65 percent of area median income.

HTF has applied for additional $1 million in state grant funds to continue its successful North County Workforce Homebuyer Program. It is also managing a pilot program for the City of Carpinteria. It plans to raise $2.5 million in investment capital to expand the Workforce Homebuyer loan program to the entire South Coast region of Santa Barbara County.

Its strategy builds partnerships with community-minded lenders such as Wells Fargo to implement effective workforce housing solutions so that our communities can attract and retain the next generation of quality local employees we need to provide essential community services in health care, education, public safety, government, nonprofits and private industry.

— Jennifer McGovern is president/CEO of the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County.