Housing affordability projects helping seniors, too – Daily News

on Feb23
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With a parade of bulldozers lined up in the background, city, county, and nonprofit officials recently gathered for the groundbreaking of Crestview Terrace in the city of San Bernardino.

On the former Waterman Gardens public housing site, the ceremony represented the beginning of the third phase of redevelopment in this neighborhood with a long history of community and safety challenges.

In partnership with the county’s Housing Authority, National Community Renaissance will build 184 new family apartments on the site, including 147 affordable family units, 35 market-rate units and two units for property employees. This project adds to the community vitalization efforts begun with the completion of neighboring Valencia Vista’s 76 units and Olive Meadow’s 62 units of affordable housing.

They say it takes a village to raise a child – and in this case, to raise a new community. Dignity Health, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the county, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and the state of California’s Strategic Growth Council all played a role in bringing this vision to life.

The project’s intent is not only to provide new housing infrastructure but also to provide a platform for community and resident life transformation. On-site amenities will include a community center for health and social services, walking paths, exercise equipment and a swimming pool.

“Projects like Crestview Terrace (are) not only transforming the neighborhood, it’s changing people’s lives,” said Cecile Chalifour, West Division Manager, Community Development Banking, Chase and one of the project’s investment partners.

I have been fortunate to observe first-hand how housing changes people’s lives. At Olive Meadow, a resident shared how she finally felt safe in her own home while other residents learned new money management skills and are saving for the first time in their lives. Community youth are finding a path to higher education and the pursuit of living-wage careers.

Quality housing for low-income families is greatly needed, but on the other end of the spectrum is a growing need for affordable housing for aging seniors. Statistics show that more than 10,000 people are turning 65 each day in the U.S. A recent study by GoBankingRanks said 64% of Americans expect to retire with less than $10,000 in savings.

To that end, in partnership with LINC Housing, National CORE just added 65 new apartment homes for low-income seniors at Vista Grande Court in Glendale. At the grand opening earlier this month, a crowd of more than 100 residents, community members, dignitaries and partners gathered to celebrate this new property.

Fully leased up, the property includes a community center, community gardens, outdoor fireplace and barbecue grills. On-site services will include health education, exercise classes, money management workshops and a services coordinator to help provide resources to meet residents’ individual needs.

For the 65 units of housing, more than 7,000 seniors applied. When asked how one resident liked his apartment, he responded, “Are you kidding? This place is heaven.”

Glendale’s Mayor Ara Najarian was somewhat in awe of the development’s Spanish Colonial style.  “They showed us drawings during the planning stages of what the community would look like, but I thought, of course, it won’t look like that,” he said. “But seeing the building today, it looks even better.”

Gregory Bradbard is an advocate for breaking the cycle of poverty as President of the SoCal-based Hope Through Housing Foundation, www.HTHF.org.



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