FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City Council members Esmeralda Soria, Miguel Arias, and Luis Chavez hope to pass a new initiative tomorrow, to help middle-class families and the homeless population transition to permanent housing. 

It’s called the “No Place Like Home” initiative.

According to real estate site Redfin, Fresno home costs have increased over 40% in the last three years.

That’s a jump from $272,000 in September of 2019, to $382,500 in September 2022.

“Over the last three years we’ve seen these rates skyrocket, and our local families are being priced out of the market,” said Fresno City Council member Esmeralda Soria.

This proposal aims to help middle-class families buy their first homes.

It’s part of a four-prong plan to address the local housing crisis. 

It would start with the Fresno Down Payment Assistance Program, which would be funded with a one-time use of $5 million from the city’s American Rescue Plan funds.

The program would provide a five-year 0% interest loan for a max of $15,000, only eligible for first-time home buyers.

The City Council members who have proposed the bill say that loan may eventually convert to a forgivable grant.

Council member Luis Chavez spelled out the income eligibility requirements for us.

“The threshold is $120,000 for a family of four and they qualify for the down payment. All that we ask is that they essentially live in the home for five years and make that their primary residence,” he said. The second prong would also create two tiny home villages in the city, which would also be funded by an additional $5 million from Rescue Plan funds allocated to the city.

“We have a contractor already secured for construction of those homes, they’re going to cost between $60,000 and $80,000,” said Council member Miguel Arias.

A third part of the proposal is an additional million dollars from the American Rescue Plan, which would create a Southwest Fresno Development Partnership, to help residents become first-time homeowners.

Last but not least, a city council committee that would oversee development, and prioritize housing, business, and park developments, would be founded within 30 days.

The Fresno City Council will vote on the proposal tomorrow.