Biz Buzz: $500,000 grant for afforable housing

The U.S. Treasury Department has given half a million dollars to a local nonprofit group that seeks to provide affordable housing.

The San Luis Obispo County Housing Trust Fund announced Friday that it has received $500,000 from Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Treasury had received 452 applications for nearly 10 times that amount — $529 million — from organizations across the nation.

“It’s a very, very competitive application,” said Gerald Rioux, executive director of the Housing Trust Fund, which received funding on its third application.

The fund was able to demonstrate that it had projects ready to be completed “fairly quickly,” which Rioux thinks helped the organization earn the award.

The grants help under-served communities access capital and financial tools to stimulate local economic development, according to the local housing trust fund.

In its 15 years, the federal program has provided $22 billion in loans, grants, and tax credits.

The local group will use the grant to provide financing for housing projects that are priced below market in San Luis Obispo County.

The grant increases the Housing Trust Fund’s loan fund equity from $200,000 to $700,000.

The local group also has more than $3 million in social investments in its loan funds, provided by 13 investors including Mission Community Bank, Rabobank, and Catholic Healthcare West.

Rather than develop, own or manage housing, the Housing Trust Fund provides financing and technical assistance to help private developers, nonprofit groups and local governments produce and preserve homes that low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes and people with disabilities can afford to rent or buy.

For information on the local trust fund go to

For information on the federal program and its awards, visit

— Bob Cuddy

Family Care lauds Byrnes, Glines

The Family Care Network recently was host to its sixth annual Taste of the Central Coast event to support local foster and high-needs children and their families.

At the event, Michael and Charlotte Byrne and Jim Glines received “Circle of Serving” awards for their dedication to enhancing the wellbeing of children and families in our community.

They were also honored with a resolution from the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County boards of supervisors and a joint resolution from the office of state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo.

The Byrnes have worked teaching special needs children, and together with friends founded the first homeless shelter in the North County. Glines, a Santa Maria native and the president of the Community Bank of Santa Maria since 2001, was lauded as an effective and dedicated fundraiser in support of many children’s and family issues.

— Julia Hickey