The Santa Rosa Housing Authority has approved the use of approximately $ 38 million in federal disaster relief funds to build hundreds of new affordable homes over the next few years.
A short-staffed housing authority voted Monday afternoon to loan $ 38,353,107 to developers of five projects in Santa Rosa that initially offer the pledge of 377 combined units, almost all of which are reserved for low-income residents.
The top prize, remarkable both for its circumstances and for its size, went to the first phase of the 3575 Mendocino Avenue project, which, when fully built, provides for 532 houses on the site of the old house park. Journey’s End mobiles. Linda Adrian, a former resident of the park and a strong supporter of the redevelopment effort, praised the $ 11.9 million award for the project, which would create 370 market-priced apartments as well as 162 units in a development affordable to replace the 160 homes in Journey’s End, most of which were destroyed in the Tubbs fire in 2017.
“At the moment, I still live in a temporary apartment that is only 320 square feet, and I was waiting for this – for Journey’s End to be rebuilt so that I can go back there,” said Adrian, who had lived at the park for 25 years.
The funds represent a bittersweet boon for a city in desperate need of additional affordable housing. While the money offers a rare chance to spur several large projects simultaneously, Santa Rosa would not have had access to the funds had it not been for the massive Tubbs fire disaster.
The city received the money last year via state officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development because of the damage inflicted on Santa Rosa by the Tubbs fire, which has exacerbated the current housing shortage. affordable by destroying more than 3,000 homes across the city. The city officially opened the fundraising process in November, less than a month after reaching an agreement with state officials to release the money.
The city received 17 applications, four of which were deemed incomplete. Two were subsequently withdrawn. The remaining 11 claims, representing claims of around $ 80.3 million – more than double what the city had to offer – were reviewed by a panel of two Housing Authority members, Vice President Diane Test. and Commissioner Steve Burke, and two members of the town. Council, John Sawyer and Tom Schwedhelm, guided by city staff.
Their unanimous recommendations supported five projects, three of which are supported at least in part by Burbank Housing, the affordable housing developer based in Santa Rosa. According to city documents, the projects, along with their loan amounts, total costs, number of units and estimated month of construction completion, are:
- First phase of 3575, avenue Mendocino; loan of $ 11.9 million; development cost of $ 56.7 million; 94 units; March 2023.
- The Cannery at Railroad Square; $ 10.3 million; $ 86.8 million in development costs; 129 units; June 2023.
- First phase of Caritas Homes; an $ 8.9 million loan; $ 39.8 million in development costs; 64 units; December 2022.
- Burbank Avenue Apartments; loan of $ 5 million; $ 38 million in development costs; 64 units; July 2023.
- Senior apartments Linda Tunis; loan of $ 2.1 million; $ 9.4 million in development costs; 26 units; March 2022.
The loans include affordability guarantees for 55 years from the date of original occupancy and annual interest rates of 3% deferred for the same term, according to city documents.
Burbank Housing is a development partner in the 3575 Mendocino, Caritas Homes and Burbank Avenue Apartments projects. The Cannery Project was presented by the John Stewart Company, and the Linda Tunis Project – named after a former Journey’s End resident who perished in the Tubbs fire – is supported by Petaluma Ecumenical Properties, or PEP Housing.
“This is actually a big step forward in reducing the housing needed and demanded, especially affordable housing, for the city of Santa Rosa,” said Efren Carrillo, director of housing development and government affairs for Burbank. Housing.
The two non-Burbank housing projects have both agreed to reduce the amount of loans they requested from the Housing Authority, according to city staff. There was no indication that all three Burbank Housing projects needed to do so.
The Housing Authority usually has seven members, including two tenants’ commissioners. However, when it met on Monday, the authority did not have the two tenant positions, two of its current five commissioners were serving expired terms and one of them had to recuse himself to avoid a conflict of tenants. potential interest.
All units except one for each project, or 372 units in total, are subject to income restrictions to some extent. The other five units are free and are intended to house on-site project managers.
The pre-award review took into account the projects’ ability to obtain planning approval and other committed funding sources, perform environmental reviews, total costs per unit and estimated start dates. and completion of construction, said Nicole Rathbun, the city’s housing program specialist.
“We were really focused on project preparation and wanted these units to be integrated into the community as quickly as possible,” said Rathbun.
You can contact Editor-in-Chief Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or [email protected] On Twitter @wsreports.
Editor’s Note: Efren Carrillo was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.