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Full text of Measure H

BOND AUTHORIZATION

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz recognizes the existence of a housing crisis in Santa Cruz County: The rising costs of home ownership and the increasing cost of rental units throughout the county have resulted in housing insecurity and a persistently high number of homeless individuals within Santa Cruz County. The latest homeless count revealed a total of 2,250 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County with 1,800 unsheltered.

In response to this housing crisis, the Board of Supervisors is placing a general obligation bond on the ballot to generate up to $140,000,000 to aid in the acquisition or improvement of real property in order to provide affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance abuse disorders. "Low-income" means households whose income does not exceed 80% of area median income. "Moderate-income" means households whose income lies in the range of 80% to 120% of area median income. The housing may be provided at below market rates.

A portion of the proceeds, not to exceed $119,000,000, with not more than $14,000,000 for first-time homebuyers, may be used to provide housing that is affordable for low- and moderate-income households; such portion may be used, by way of example only, for first-time homebuyers or to promote housing that is in proximity to employment.

Even though housing for working families and vulnerable populations is currently being built, the number of units available does not satisfy the projected demand within our community. The Board of Supervisors intends to distribute the new affordable housing units within the County and to leverage the resources acquired through this bond to attract both private and public matching funds, including from state and federal sources. Different forms of assistance for working families and vulnerable populations may be provided based on programs and spending as determined by the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors views housing as a critical need of working families and vulnerable populations, without which individuals in these populations are unlikely to achieve any level of stability. Creating and improving housing for the County's working families and vulnerable populations is consistent with the County’s vision to promote a healthy, safe and more affordable community, the County's mission to deliver quality, data-driven services that strengthen our community and enhance opportunity, and the County’s goals in the area of Attainable Housing. The County is seeking to achieve this in a cost-effective way.

Approval of this general obligation bond proposition shall constitute the approval of the provision of up to 1,041 units of affordable housing as required by Article XXXIV of the California Constitution.

ACCOUNTABILITY SAFEGUARDS

Statement of Purpose: The specific purposes of the bond are to fund the acquisition or improvement of real property in order to provide affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance use disorders. The proceeds of any bonds issued pursuant to this bond measure will be applied only to these specific purposes.

Special Bond Proceeds Account: The proceeds of the bonds issued pursuant to this measure shall be deposited in a special account created by the County.

Annual Report: The County will ensure that an annual report pursuant to Government Code section 53411 describing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project required or authorized to be funded, shall be filed with its governing body;

Independent Oversight Committee: An Oversight Committee including citizen representatives will be established and will review the annual report each year to ensure fiscal accountability.

Independent and External Audit: An independent, external auditor will review the County's spending of bond proceeds to ensure accountability.