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Collaborative Looks For Solutions To Housing Crisis

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Jamestown, CA — A wide-ranging group of Tuolumne County leaders gathered today to share ideas and opportunities to address the lack of housing in the community.

A first-of-its-kind event held locally, a Housing Collaborative meeting, took place at the Chicken Ranch Casino. It was spearheaded by Habitat for Humanity of Tuolumne County. CEO Trinity Abilia says the idea stemmed from a conversation she had several months ago with Supervisors Kathleen Haff and Jaron Brandon, Sonora Area Foundation CEO Darrell Slocum, and local resident Tom Crosby. Others were soon brought into the fray, and today there were around 30 people on hand for the collaborative meeting. They included builders and developers, members of the business community, city and county government leaders, local tribes, TUD officials, environmental groups like CSERC, and non-profits such as ATCAA, Resiliency Village and Blue Zones.

Abilia says, “We all know that there is a housing crisis here in Tuolumne County, and we know that there are a lot of entities that are working together to find solutions. But, those entities were not coming together in the same place to work together. Our hope for today is that we can be so much stronger if we work together. We may actually be able to pave the way to solving some of the housing issues that we are having right now.”

A big discussion topic was the “housing ladder” and how the various tiers are connected. For example, if a senior housing complex is built, people will move there, and in turn it frees up conventional homes for those seeking them. Or, when a group like Habitat For Humanity builds workforce housing, it frees up transitional housing space.

The event was a chance to network, hear presentations, and take part in breakout sessions. Some of the speakers included Abila, Slocum, and Haff, along with Tyler Newton of Adventist Health Sonora and Sam Segerstrom of TCAR.

Segerstrom pointed out that a balanced housing market has around six months of inventory available, but the current market has been closer to 1.7 months. Also, the median price is up 24-percent over the past year.

Some of the action items that came from the breakout sessions were a desire to look more into the repurposing and conversion of existing local buildings or land (for housing), having a housing development specialist in the county, and look at ways to better market and message the desire for developers to consider housing projects. An example brought up is a slogan like, “Tuolumne County is open for housing.”

Today’s collaborative meeting was designed to get ball moving. The group will continue to meet in the future and it was noted at some point there may even be an event like a housing symposium in the county.

  • Housing Collaborative Meeting
  • Darrell Slocum speaks at Housing Collaborative Meeting
  • Trinity Abila at Housing Collaborative Meeting
  • Housing Collaborative Meeting