Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals introduced Mike Velez Community Program Specialist and Robert Canepa Loan Specialist from the Auburn office.
Velez discussed projects they were currently working on which included water tanks for Calpine and Sierraville PUD. He said Downieville received money for an ambulance purchase and is helping Camptonville with new equipment. Velez wanted to look at any other big projects the County might need assistance with. He said loans are available for construction projects at very low rates and can help with transportation, education, public safety, jails, courthouses, community centers, libraries, and senior centers. Velez continued that grants are available for purchases and loans for any construction. He stated there is funding for economic development, drought related projects, and storm water drainage systems.
Velez encouraged the board to look at all avenues within USDA so they didn’t miss any funding opportunities.
Canepa discussed the housing element and stated he was a loan officer with rural development and works with the single-family housing program focusing on loans and grants in rural areas, adding Sierra County meets this description. He spoke on two programs. The first was the 502 Mortgage Program, aimed at very low and low-income households. Standard terms are 33 years at 3% fixed interest geared for families who can’t obtain conventional financing. The program does accept 100% of the loan. He had heard about the trailer park and said some of those residents could qualify through him. The second program is a 504 Loan and Grant Rehabilitation. He said one has to be 62 years and older, has to own the home and land but it doesn’t have to be paid off. He stated he could grant up to $7,500 in repairs for the home. Eligible repairs are anything health and safety. Typically he works with roofs, inside ceiling damages, and ADA compliant areas. Canepa stated there was plenty of funding as California hasn’t used its allocation in five years.
The two representatives left contact information and the board thanked them for making the trip.