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Santa Ana affordable housing project for families, homeless individuals breaks ground

An affordable housing project with 85 units is underway in Santa Ana, offering low-income local residents a preferred shot at the rentals.

The $52 million project, named Westview House, recently broke ground at Westminster Avenue and Fairview Street. The development will include units with three and four bedrooms for larger families while offering smaller apartments, coupled with services, for people experiencing homelessness or with mental health needs.

“This is a unique project in that it’s a mix of family housing and permanent supportive housing for people struggling with homelessness and mental health illness,” said Kyle Paine, president of Community Development Partners, a Newport Beach company building the project.

The complex will include 34 three-bedroom units and 24 four-bedroom units to accommodate larger families.

Of the 85 apartments, 26 will be slated for people experiencing homelessness. Those renters will be eligible for services to keep them housed, assisted by the nonprofit Mercy House and the Santa Ana Housing Authority with federal Section 8 housing vouchers.

And 75% of the total units will be put aside for extremely low-income families.Construction is underway on an affordable housing project in Santa Ana. The Westview House, located at Westminster Avenue and Fairview Street, will have 85 apartments of varying sizes to accommodate large families. The project is being developed in partnership with Mercy House, which will provide some of the residents with services like skill-building classes.

The project is being developed in partnership with Mercy House, which will provide some of the residents with services like skill-building classes.

“The need for affordable housing is overwhelming,” said Judson Brown, Santa Ana’s housing division manager.

When Santa Ana opened up its Section 8 program waiting list in May, for one month, it received 20,756 applications, including 8,930 from Santa Ana residents, according to Brown.

The Westview House project is partly funded by $3.9 million from the city’s funds. Mercy House will provide services to residents who were previously homeless, including adult education, health and wellness, and skill-building classes. The Orange County Health Care Agency also will provide wrap-around supportive services to the residents in those 26 units.

Westview is one of five affordable housing projects under construction in the city, with two others in the pre-development stage. All combined, they will provide an additional 420 units of affordable housing, nearly doubling the affordable housing stock the city has been involved with in recent years, Brown said.

“Over the last seven years, we have financed the development of 13 affordable housing projects. Six out of the 13 have been completed and now provide 450 units of affordable and permanent supportive housing,” he said.

Altogether, Santa Ana will have 5,018 affordable housing units once the current projects are completed.

In addition to the Westview House, the other four projects under construction are:

— Legacy Square (609 Spurgeon St.), 92 units plus an apartment for the manager. All will be offered to families earning less than 60% of the area median income. Construction is estimated to finish in February 2023.

— North Harbor Village (1108 N. Harbor), a former motel with 89 units that will offer permanent supportive housing by May 2023.

— Crossroads at Washington (1126, 1136 and 1146 E. Washington Ave.) is a new multi-family apartment complex under construction that will offer 85 units, plus one for a manager, to families earning less than 30% of the area median income; 43 units will be set aside for permanent supportive housing. The expected completion date is December 2023.

— Habitat for Humanity is building two new single-family detached homes at 826 N. Lacy St. and 830 N. Lacy St.

At the Westview House, 63 of the 84 units (plus a manager’s unit) are for families who fall into the extremely low-income category, earning no more than 30% of the area median income; and the remaining 21 units are for families that make no more than 60% of the area median income.

The area median income in Orange County is $119,100.

The maximum a two-person household can earn to qualify, Brown said, ranges from a $32,520 annual salary for a one-bedroom to a five-person household making no more than $43,920 for a three-bedroom unit to a seven-person household earning no more $50,430 for a four-bedroom apartment.

The rents are expected to range from $756 for a one-bedroom to $908 for two bedrooms, $1,049 for three bedrooms and $1,170 for a four-bedroom apartment.

Amenities will include a community room for events and classes, an outdoor children’s play structure that can be accessed by neighborhood children and picnic and barbeque areas.

There will be a wait list favoring Santa Ana residents as tenants, but that won’t get started until the project is closer to completion, Paine said. The project is expected to be completed by February 2024.

Source: Orange County Register

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