Last week, Calaveras County was awarded a set of low interest loans from the state totalling $640,601 to develop housing in San Andreas for people who are mentally ill and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Voters made the award possible by supporting the passage of the No Place Like Home (NPLH) bond measure (Proposition 2) last year.

That proposition authorized the state to repay the bond using revenues from a 1% tax on personal incomes above $1 million established by Proposition 63 in 2004.

According to Kristin Stranger, the Calaveras County Health and Human Services director, the funding will be used for the development of five permanent supportive housing units on a parcel on the corner of Cemetery Ave. and Gold Strike Road in San Andreas. The Stanislaus Housing Authority, the housing authority for Calaveras, will be the developer.

The goal is to make three of the units available to individuals and/or couples and two for families with children. Community members that have serious mental illness and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless make up the target population for the project. Calaveras County Behavioral Health Services will provide behavioral health services to residents, including one-on-one counseling, case management and workforce training services, Stranger said.

“Calaveras County, like the rest of the state and nation, is facing a housing crisis,” Stranger said. “In the last Point-in-Time count, 186 individuals were identified as meeting the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homeless. Of those 186, 24 were under the age of 18. In addition, another 30 individuals were identified as ‘couch surfers,’ meaning they did not meet the HUD definition, but lacked stable housing. NPLH funding offers an opportunity to provide housing coupled with supportive services. This model has been shown to have the best results in preventing a return to homelessness.”

The financing will consist of a $295,000 conventional loan, $50,000 NPLH Noncompetitive Loan, $473,830 NPLH Competitive Loan, $325,000 Housing Authority Loan and a $58,000 land contribution from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, according to the Stanislaus Housing Authority. The interest rates vary, but are between 3% and 4%.

Site work for the development is estimated to begin in late September following final plan review by the County Planning Department.

San Andreas was one of 37 communities selected across the state for the loan, with $179 million in total awarded to developers of affordable supportive housing to fund the construction of 2,100 households.

State officials plan to announce another round of NPLH awards in the fall.

The Stanislaus Housing Authority is also in the process of developing 20 to 25 Foothill Terrace units of workforce housing on a plot of land behind San Andreas Elementary in San Andreas that was formerly the site of temporary housing units for Butte Fire victims. The goal is to keep rent between $800 and $1,000 per month. That development is estimated to be completed by February of 2020.

Although the two aforementioned projects will be located in San Andreas, the community as a whole is working to address the diverse housing needs throughout the entire county with the “scattered site” approach, according to Stranger. Scattered-site refers to the development of publicly funded, affordable housing units throughout diverse, middle-class neighborhoods, rather than being concentrated in one neighborhood.

“We have had some early success, and we want to continue that strong collaboration and momentum forward to address the lack of housing for our residents,” Stranger said. “It can’t be done alone though and is no single entity’s responsibility. It requires stakeholders from throughout the entire community working together.”

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Reporter

Davis graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. He covers environmental issues, agriculture, fire and local government. Davis spends his free time playing guitar and hiking with his dog, Penny.

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