Advocacy & Activism, Housing

Nonprofit Begins Work on Two Affordable Housing Complexes

From VCStar.com, Ventura County Star, Rachel McGrath, 19 Apr 2011.

Construction is underway on two affordable housing complexes in Oxnard that will serve farmworkers and people with special needs.

The Cabrillo Economic Development Corp., a private nonprofit affordable home and community development organization serving Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, broke ground Tuesday on a two-acre site at 457 W. Gonzales Road.

The residential complexes, Paseo de Luz and Camino Gonzalez, will be developed side by side.

“These projects will be a real asset to the community, providing housing that’s needed and construction jobs at a time when they’re needed,” said Karen Flock, real estate development director for the CEDC in Ventura.

“Having a decent, safe place to live is just a basic need,” she said. “Paseo de Luz will allow those with special needs to live independently and get their lives together. The farmworker housing will give farmworkers who don’t get paid very much a safe place to live and raise their kids and so we’ll help support the agricultural economy.”

CEDC officials said that Camino Gonzalez will provide 18 affordable rental homes for farmworkers. That development is being funded as a Low Income Housing Tax Credit project, with help from the city of Oxnard and County of Ventura.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom town homes will have a Spanish/Mediterranean style design and incorporate energy saving features, plus private balconies and garages. There also will be a community courtyard, barbecue area and basketball courts.

Paseo de Luz will provide 24 one-bedroom apartments for mentally ill adults through funding from Ventura County Behavioral Health Department, Mental Health Services Act funding and the HUD section 811 program, which makes federal government funding available for housing people with disabilities. A community building also will be available to residents for social activities.

Carolyn Briggs, housing director for the county’s Behavioral Health Department, said people with mental health issues are often unable to work or may only be able to work part-time or intermittently.

“There are not a lot of housing choices for people with these challenges,” she said. “You can’t underestimate the value of having a decent, safe place to live that they can afford. It means that they can then focus on their own health and well-being, and on being productive members of the community.”

Once construction is completed and residents move in, there will be two on-site managers, one for each complex, Flock said. In addition, those living in Paseo de Luz will receive supportive services from the county’s Behavioral Health team.

Both Paseo De Luz and Camino Gonzalez are scheduled to be completed by February 2012.

Since 1981, the CEDC has built more than 1,400 affordable for-sale or rental homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and it currently manages 715 affordable rental units. The CEDC also assists individuals and families with homeownership education, counseling and lending services.

Source: VCStar.com, Ventura County Star, “Nonprofit begins work on two affordable housing complexes” by Rachel McGrath, 19 Apr 2011.

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