Following up on a recommendation in a five-year plan for postwildfire economic growth in Sonoma County, two local business groups have formed a council with more than a dozen businesses to develop solutions to area housing problems, noted in the document as a major hurdle.

Santa Rosa Metro Chamber and North Coast Builders Exchange drew from the plan by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board in forming the Sonoma County Employer Housing Council. The goal of the council is to accelerate the building of market-rate, workforce and affordable housing, according to the chamber.

Formed in October, the council has grown to 15 major Sonoma County employers such as St. Joseph Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Medtronic, Keysight Technologies and Redwood Credit Union. Also represented are Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa City Schools.

“The EHC will convene these major employers to advance accountability in the progress toward the County’s housing goals (30,000 housing units by 2025), provide a forum for employers to share information, assist jurisdictions in removing barriers to development, and assist housing projects to financially get off the ground,” the chamber started.

The group will specifically track progress on housing development as well as bring “multi-sector employers together to help advance specific housing projects that will benefit those employer’s workforce needs.”