Tag Archives: CASA

CASA housing explained

Workplace Housing

Skylark Meadows, Novato sets state affordable ownership record
Skylark Meadows, Novato sets state affordable ownership record

Affordably Owned by not-super rich folks

Section 8 rental subsidies for generations?

Section 8 tax dollars taken from your taxed wallet to help low income households for generations?


Own a home and its appreciation in the North Bay?

One time financial partnership assist to boost your toward financial independence?


(Federal National

Mortgage Association)

1990 Blue Book National Model

CASA (Community Assisted

Shared Appreciation)

FANNIE MAE recommends emulating CASA across the nation

What is CASA?

Allows low and moderate income households to share in the benefits of homeownership in overpriced areas.


The household buys in partnership with a non-profit, public benefit trust fund, foundation or public agency.


Allows civil servants, teachers, nurses, small businessman to live in their work community, share great American dream of equity appreciation thereby building true community and reducing traffic and environmental pollution caused by forced commutes to distant housing.

Town house, condo, starter home costs $225,000.

3 person household =  $40,000 income, good credit

Saved, family gift     =  $20,000 down

 Qualifies $125,000 9% mortgage, $1,0005 monthly

 Sales price                   $225,000

Less down & mortgage    -(20,000+125,000)

Shortfall                        $80,000

$80,000 = from Affordable Ownership Fund (CASA)

Funded from?

MCFoundation Affordable Ownership Trust Fund

Redevelopment Agency Fund

Open Space District or replica

Marin’s Most Pressing Need Trust Fund

Developer in-lieu fees…

Combination of above

How repaid?

Deferred principle and interest 2nd mortgage

“Sleeping Second Mortgage”

How is financial independence gained by homeowner?

Homeowner shares proportionally in appreciation.

20,000 down + 125,000 mortgageHomeowner’s share

$225,000 Sales Price                         Unit Sales Price

$145,000          =      65% homeowner’s share


Homeowner will live in home, maintain and care for it, take tax write-offs, and if and when he/she sells it reap 65% of the appreciation.

How is solvency of CASA (Workplace/Affordable Ownership Housing Fund) maintained to continue program?

CASA contributed $80,000 toward purchase price.

$80,000    =  35% CASA’s share


At sale CASA will receive 35% of appreciation which will return to the CASA fund to provide funds to repurchase that same or another house for the low/moderate income household seeking affordable ownership housing at that time.

X years later the CASA assisted buyer sells

Selling Price  =             $400,000

Less original costs         -225,000

Appreciation                 $175,000

CASA fund receive 35% or $61,250

of appreciation/contingent interest to assist next low/moderate income buyer.

Homeowner receives 65% of the appreciation or $113,750 to buy another home.

General Plan Update

San Rafael should add this to Housing Element as:

  • Corner stone of its affordable housing program.
  • In-lieu fee contribution to CASA Fund should be option available to developers rather than just prescribed %age of low income units in their developments
  • Benefits employers whose employees want to own and not commute long distances.
  • Adds option to developer’s available tools.
  • Workers prefer owning to renting.
  • Builds community pride.

Fund this program via:

  • Budgeting it as line item
  • Transferring some Redevelopment Agency funds to it
  • Proactively pressing the Marin Community Foundation to fund it
  • Educating the community on the more pressing need to fund it versus such less needed well-funded programs such as the Open Space Acquisition Fund.

The dearth of affordable housing – and the traffic congestion it causes – is Marin’s most pressing need – not more open space.

The family is best educational source children will ever be exposed to.

The house you live in is the schoolhouse you’ll learn the most from.

Every family should have the opportunity to proudly own a home near where they work.

To build strong families and the benefits they bring to the community, this should be a priority program in every General Plan and every endowed public benefit agency in pricey Marin.

3 person household =  $40,000 income, good credit

Saved, family gift     =  $20,000 down

 Qualifies $125,000 9% mortgage, $1,0005 monthly

 Sales price                   $225,000

Less down & mortgage    -(20,000+125,000)

Shortfall                        $80,000

$80,000 = from Affordable Ownership Fund (CASA)

Funded from?

MCFoundation Affordable Ownership Trust Fund

Redevelopment Agency Fund

Open Space District or replica

Marin’s Most Pressing Need Trust Fund

Developer in-lieu fees…

Combination of above

How repaid?

Deferred principle and interest 2nd mortgage

“Sleeping Second Mortgage”

How is financial independence gained by homeowner?

Homeowner shares proportionally in appreciation.

20,000 down + 125,000 mortgageHomeowner’s share

$225,000 Sales Price                         Unit Sales Price

$145,000          =      65% homeowner’s share


Homeowner will live in home, maintain and care for it, take tax write-offs, and if and when he/she sells it reap 65% of the appreciation.


CASA program a model

Novato Advance       May 9, 1990


 CASA program a model

        By DWAYNE HUNN

Some interesting things have been happening at Novato Ecumenical Housing recently. Last month NEH was notified by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FANNIE MAE) that our Community Assisted Shared Appreciation (CASA) home ownership program for low and moderate income households will re recognized in FANNIE MAE’S  1990 Blue Book as one of two national models shared equity home ownership programs. FANNIE MAE uses its prestigious annual publication to recognize programs that it believes should be emulated by other cities across the nation.

The national recognition does not come without some irony. For years, NEH  has struggled to obtain additional funds to expand our CASA program in Novato and throughout the county. So many political, environmental, and bureaucratic boulders have been placed in our path that we often feel like Sisyphus, the mythological figure who was compelled to roll a stone to the top of a slope, the stone always escaping him near the top and rolling down again.

Perhaps the uphill fight, taking place among the rolling hills of exclusive Marin, is part of the reason the program has been recognized. CASA has assisted more than 60 low and moderate income families in purchasing their first homes in Novato. Families earning as low as 34% of Marin’s median income have purchased homes through this deferred principal and interest second mortgage home ownership program. Our average second mortgage assistance been $37,000 per family and their average income has been $22,700.

NEH is proud of the award. We are prouder, however, that we have been able to help many starting families obtain the Great American Dream. Our assisted owners are not, as our uninformed opponents like to portray them, low-lifes. They are nurses, sheriff and police department employees, private entrepreneurs, secretaries, hard-working, single moms, etc. They are essential service providers and they have an almost  non-existent mortgage failure rate.

NEH has been able to raise more than $2 million to fund this program. The sources from which we raised the funds might help explain to some who oppose our work why we often argue on behalf of sensible, long-term environmentally sound developments. Source of Affordable Ownership Housing Trust Funds:

  • 53 percent developer contributions. Densities have been cut so drastically in Novato that no new sources of in-lieu fees are foreseen in the near future.
  • 18 percent Community Development Block Grants. We have not received and additional CDBG funds since 1984.
  • 15 percent NEH’s recapture of its equity share and second mortgage. Soon NEH will be the second largest supplier to its own program. Unfortunately, that means the program is not growing to handle the increased need.
  • 11 percent San Francisco Foundation. The San Francisco Foundation was replaced by the Marin Community Foundation.
  • 4 percent Marin Community Foundation.

As you can see, most of our funds which allow us to assist Novato residents in purchasing their own Novato homes come from developer contributions. When reasonable densities are drastically reduced to such a low point  that developers cannot justify the expense of affordable unit development or developers are not required to contribute in-lieu fees, we cannot help balance the jobs/housing imbalance.

The Brookside development is an example of how drastic density reductions hurt Novato’s ability to balance housing with the purchasing power of local residents. Ten years ago Brookside was approved for 120 units, of which 34 were  to be affordable. The Novato City Council then cut the allowed development to 70 units on 59 acres with no affordable units. Now come “concerned” citizens want the density to be cut to 0 units and want to you to assess yourself a parcel tax to purchase the Brookside  land for open space.

This desire for more open space is taking place in a county where more than 84 percent of the land is set aside in open space, agriculture reserve and park land. The petitions are being gathered in a city where, in 1980, the city averaged four units per acre and where today that average has dropped to about 2.4 units per developed acre. Politics, like awards, often has an ironic character to it.

For more information, call 892-8136.




Joe Sixpack And The ESOPs

Coastal Post  April 23, 1991

 Joe Sixpack And The ESOPs


Recently Coastal Post reporter Patrick Holland ana­lyzed the potential benefits and pitfalls of the Marin City development. A couple of friends of mine actually read his pieces at Don Deane’s pub—probably because that was the only paper stocked both in and Out of the johns. After tipping quite a few at the bar, the fellow to my left, Nick Kelso, myself and my buddy Joe Sixpack started exchanging ideas.

       “So wha da ya do?” said Joe to Nick.

       “I do up ESOPs,” replied Nick.

       Joe stared hard at the guy, leaned over to me and asked, “Did dat punk say he’d do me up because I’m an SOB?”

       “No, Joe, he said he does ESOPS—Employee Stock Ownership Programs. It allows employees to invest in their companies and reap the benefits of being a stock holder.”

    “Yes, that’s what I do. My father Louis Kelso felt that every American should be a capitalist. Owning capital allows one to become a two-income household— from wages and from return on your ownership of capital.”

    “It was one of the means by which Mr. Kelso felt you could eradicate the need for poverty programs and get people to work better and harder at their jobs which then increases profits,” I added.

    “If you own part of where you work, you’ll take care of it, make it work better and doing so will allow you to accumulate capital just like rich people.”

    “Yeah, well dis guy in the Coastal Post says dees rich people are about to come to Marin City and in time they may drive the poor people out of their homes. Can you do an ESOP for dem?”

    “Come on, Joe. Think about what Northbay Ecumeni­cal Housing (NEH) does. Think about NEH’s CASA (Community Assisted Shared Appreciation) and how that’s like an ESOP.”

    “The reporter says after that spanking new Marin City development is built someone will come in and want to “condomize” those not so pretty apartments on the hillside. Then all the poor people won’t be able to afford dem and be moved out.”

“They won’t be able to own because they have never been capitalists—have never owned cai3ital and partici­pated in its appreciation and tax benefits and been able to accumulate wealth by doing so,” chimed in Nick. “Yeah, in other words, der poor,” clarified Joe. “And der ain’t many ways to get capital when yen poor.”

   “Your friend is right. If you don’t own capital, it is almost impossible to accumulate wealth,” said Nick. “Little disagreement, Nick. But Joe, when his forehead isn’t bleeding from crushing 13 beer cans against it and glugging its contents down his throat, knows there are other sources of capital other than one’s business. He knows our CASA program gets people out of welfare dependency by assisting people gain that capital foothold. Come on Joe, explain CASA to Nick.”

   After slapping the side of his head a couple time and washing his eyes with my glass of water, Joe said, “Dees guys at NEH raise, or maybe steal is the better word, money mostly from developers. Then they beg founda­tions and dis County, who some years ago gave them a few pennies and put it into der Affordable Housing Frust Tund. Dey den take dat money and fill the gap between what these low/moderate income households can afford to pay for a home.”

“What do you mean ‘fill the gap’?” Nick said.

       “Hey, ain’t you an economist type” Ain’t you ever heard of second mortgages? Silent or sleeping second mortgages? Dees guys at NEH have the poor come up with the largest down payment they can, get the highest first mortgage they can, and they pay the difference with their silent second money. Dey don’t even collect on the sleeping second until and unless dose folks sell da home. Den dey each share propotionately in da appreciation.”

   Well, in Marin I expect that if those families hold onto their unit for a few years it will appreciate substantially and they will become ‘capitalists.’ They will have accumulated wealth and never again need to depend on government assistance. That is a fine example of an ESOP for people shut out of home ownership! It must a wonderful, exciting program!”

       “Yeah, well if my friend were smarter, he’d work less hard at it and drink more wid me. Developers are the only ones who seem to understand it in a reasonably quick manner—and they can’t develop projects to do it in Marin. Ya know, like 65 percent of the units at Hamilton could’ve been CASA ESOPs. But some environmental lady said they didn’t want those low lifes out der. Foundations and the government say they have no money for helping poor own their homes, they prefer to give der money to keep them rentin’.

“And da poor people are so busy trying to make ends meet that they don’t have time to learn about the CASA program and raise hell to get it happening…  I keep tellin’ dem, get more people off that rental beast.  Drinking the yeast, barley, and hops ofownership is better than eating rental crow for ever. Too much crow ain’t good for anyone.”

       “Let’s get outta here before we have to pay for dis last round. I feel like the CASA second—I oughta (hiccup) be sleeping,” said Joe.

Innovations at Novato’s Skylark project

Marin Independent Journal  Friday, January 31, 1986

By Clark Blasdell and Dwayne Hunn

JUST UP THE ROAD from the Marin Independent Journal, 15 more families soon will be moving in at the Skylark housing project, another development by Novato Ecumenical Housing.

This Ignacio project will set a state record when 19 of its 37 homes are sold at below-market rates to first-time Marin homebuyers who. earn less than 80 percent of the county’s median income of $27,500.

There are several innovations connected with this project. Itemizing them gives us an idea of how difficult it is to build affordable housing in Marin.

With a balance sheet of zero, Novato Ecumenical Housing received a $350,000 California Housing and Community Development loan — one of their largest single commitments. Coupled with Community Development Block Grant funds and in-lieu fees from developers, NEH now had enough funds to purchase the site on Alameda del Prado near the Skylark Motel.

The city of Novato’s Housing Opportunity Program encourages affordable housing development by allowing certain sites to be built at the top of the density range, thereby reducing a developer’s per unit cost. One of these sites, was found.

By using the $350,000 predevelopment loan, NEH was required to make half of the development affordable to low-income households — those with earnings from $19,250 to $27,500. After eight lending institutions rejected NEH’s construction-loan application because of the project’s financial complexity, Citicorp granted a $2.35 million loan in February 1985.

NEH’s contribution was to come from $973,984 in grants it obtained from nine different funding sources.

Also part of the funding package was $2.754 million of first-time homebuyers’ mortgage money through the $22 million Marin County Tax Exempt Bond Pro gram, issued at a fixed 30-year rate of 10.5 percent.

To obtain this money, points (prepaid interest) had to be paid to the bond broker. These fees were paid by another block grant allocation.

Through the process, NEIl was determined to build the best project possible. We began by choosing California’s 1981 Affordable Housing Design winner, Mike Moyer, as project architect. He integrated all-redwood siding, solar domestic hot water beating, all-gas appliances, extremely high-efficiency gas furnaces, thermo-paned windows and edible landscaping into the one and two-bedroom designs. PG&E later awarded Skylark its Energy Conservation Award.

To make we homes affordable and to ensure that pride of ownership would be maintained, NEH created second trust deeds (mortgages) with deferred principle and interest, along with a shared-appreciation program for the below-market-rate buyers.

As an example, suppose such a buyer purchases a unit at $100,000, but can only finance $60,000 (down payment plus first mortgage). The remaining $40,000 in value is carried by NEH as a “sleeping” second mortgage requiring no payments until the unit is sold.

At that time, the first and second mortgage are repaid and the appreciation beyond that is split between the original buyer and NEH. This split, in essence, is NEH’s deferred interest.

For market-rate buyers, NEH provides interest-rate buydowns. For example, suppose a first-time homebuyer purchases a unit at the 10.5 percent interest rate. NEH may do a 2-to-1 buydown, which means it pays part of the interest for each of the first two years.

This means that in year one, the interest is 8.5.5 percent, in year two it is 9.5 percent and for the remaining 28 years it’s 10.5 percent. This often helps the buyer qualify by reducing initial monthly payments.

To cost-effectively carry out the design and ensure hometown accountability, a Novato builders’ consortium of respected builders was formed– Grippe, Parode, and Timmer.

As NEH enters its second full month of marketing, prices start at $88,000 with uniquely designed two-bedroom units available at $105,000. Spacious two-bedroom townhouse design s are priced at $114,950. A few below-market-rate units may also still be available.

Interested people should contact Home and Land Realty (454-9900) to take a look at the spectacular and affordable record-setting project that NEH and the community of Novato are proud to have created for Marin.

More than half the units at Novato’s Skylark housing will be sold at below market rates




Clark Blasdell is executive director of Novato Ecumenical Housing. Dwayne Hunn is assistant director and Skylark’s project manager.


New project offers affordable housing

Novato Advance  Wednesday, November 20, 1985


Novato Ecumenical Housing.

 Novato Ecumenical housing began marketing an unusual — and record breaking — housing project this month.

Skylark Meadows, located at Alameda Del Prado and Cielo Lane, sets a California record because 19 of Its 37 units are affordable to low-income households.

No ownership housing development with both market-rate and below-market-rate units has ever come close to making such a high percentage of its units affordable to low-income households.

The marketing of Skylark marks a significant breakthrough in affordable housing. In July, the average sales price of a home in Marin was $200,000. This means few teachers, policemen, firemen. clerks, etc. can afford to own a Marin home. Many of these people look for homes in Sonoma County. in 1970 the average daily traffic that crossed the Marin-Sonoma County line was 31,000. Last year, that number was up to 58,000.

Young, starting families find it almost impossible to qualify top~. chase a home in Marin. Consequently, families with children arc becoming a rarity in Marin. Since 1970, Marin’s average household size dropped 18 percent.

Skylark is one attempt to reverse that trend. Beginning with architect Mike Moyer, winner of California’s 1981 Affordable housing Design Competition, Skylark has retained high quality and affordability. Every inch of Skylark has been done in premium exterior redwood siding — even the signage is in redwood.

Edible and native landscaping. which uses only about 40 percent of  water consumed by traditional residential project plantings, covers the ground.

And, though an initial design concept called for electric resistance heating, which is cheaper and easier for the developer to install, NEHs final choice was to create an all-gas project. As a result, the homeowners’ operating costs are likely to be cut in half.

All 37 Skylark units have active solar water heating designed to provide about 70 percent of the domestic hot water load.

In addition to reducing energy costs for residents. Skylark is NEH’s small effort to ease Highway 101 gridlock.

In setting a state record, NEIL hopes to use this as a flagship for other affordable housing projects that will provide homes to families who are the working backbone of a community.

We hope that these families, instead of spending tedious hours on  an air-polluting freeway commute will Jive near where they work.

Few projects in Marin offer 608 to 1,3)0 square feet of premium housing, with market values ranging from $78,500 to $114,950. Fewer yet offer first-time homebuyers 10.5 percent fixed rate 30-year Marin County Bond financing. None, that we know of, offer two- year interest buydowns on the first 10 two-bedroom units sold.

This means that the interest rate in year one Is only 8.5 percent. In year two It increases to 9.5 percent and is fixed thereafter at 10.5 percent for the remaining 28 years.

Novato Ecumenical Housing is especially interested in offering Skylark units to families of three with incomes of about $24,750, and families of four with incomes of about $27,500.

For more information about buying at Skylark, call 892-8136 or 454-9900.

Contractor Rick Timmer (left), Clark Blasdell and Dwayne Hunn looked over Skylark Meadows plans shortly before the development was completed.  Skylark units went on sale this month.