Grand Opening of Palm Terrace Apartments Offers a Hopeful Future for the Cisneros’ Children

Grand Opening of Palm Terrace Apartments Offers a Hopeful Future for the Cisneros’ Children

Posted on November 27, 2018

On November 13, Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Palm Terrace apartments, a 50-unit affordable rental community located at 700 W. Hermosa St. in Lindsay. Palm Terrace offers permanent affordable rental housing to working people in Lindsay, and is located within walking distance of shopping, schools, and fresh food.

Originally from Tooleville, a small unincorporated community 7 miles north of Lindsay, Arlin Cisneros is one of fifty Palm Terrace beneficiaries. Arlin is also a proud single mother of four vibrant children, Clarissa (10), Alexandra (8), Fabian (5), and Damian (2). Like many of the families that go through SHE programs, Arlin’s journey to permanent and sustainable housing has not been an easy one. In fact, far from it.

As a teen, Arlin frequently walked to school. It was during this time that she began experiencing unusual back pain. Unbeknownst to her, these early signs of pain would eventually become a debilitating condition. The pain worsened and by the time Arlin was pregnant with her last child, she was bedridden and partially paralyzed. Today, she suffers from arthritis on the entire left side of her back, a damaged sciatic nerve and a damaged disc in her spine. Doctors do not know the exact cause of her condition, but suspect she could have been born this way. Nevertheless, Arlin’s chronic back pain has limited her from living a completely normal life. She is unable to carry more than 20 pounds and cannot sit or stand for a long period before her pain flares up to the point of immobility. She is therefore unable to secure a stable job flexible enough to accommodate her disability, and consequently has struggled in the past to provide for her children. “Because of my back pain, it has been very hard to find a stable job,” said Arlin. “That is why I work seasonally in the grape harvest to be able to provide for my family. And still, many times the pain gets unbearable, but I push through.”  When she is not working in the grape harvest, Arlin takes small housekeeping jobs to make ends meet.

Chronic pain is not the only thing Arlin has dealt with. Some time ago, Arlin made a conscious choice to leave an unhealthy and destructive relationship to pursue a better quality of life for herself and her children. This was a scary reality that meant having to figure things out on her own, a feat difficult to accomplish when burdened with a disability and financial instability. But for Arlin, it was a change that needed to happen to ensure her children grow in a safe and caring home. “I used to think that I couldn’t do it alone. But finally I said enough is enough and realized that my children would suffer more if I stay.”

Lindsay is home to about 13,000 people, many of them agricultural workers. With a median household income just over $30,000, 34% less than Tulare County’s household median income, Lindsay residents often have to live in over-crowded conditions and substandard housing. This was the case for Arlin before moving to Palm Terrace. The Cisneros lived in a tight two bedroom run-down apartment where Arlin’s children frequently brawled over space and privacy. Laundry alone was exhausting, many times competing with other residents over the few working washers and dryers. For the kids, doing homework was nearly impossible without access to reliable internet. “We had to go outside in front of the apartments and sit on the big rock to get the internet from the school,” said Alexandra. “But when the sun went down, we had to go inside so sometimes we didn’t get the homework done.” It was a very unproductive environment to say the least.

One day, however, Arlin noticed a new sign along Hermosa St. that introduced a new affordable housing project coming soon to the city. Almost instinctively, Arlin contacted Self-Help Enterprises for information. The process felt long for Arlin. She was the first on the list and did everything she could to stay there. When SHE requested documents, she called friends and/or family for rides (during the temporary time she was without a working vehicle). Her hard work paid off when she received the most awaited call informing her of her new apartment at Palm Terrace –a moment she can only describe as “a huge relief.”

Palm Terrace features one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with a 1982 sq. ft. community building, playground, community garden, and open space for residents. The community building includes a computer lab that is available to adults and children for schoolwork and educational activities. Self-Help Enterprises will offer a robust onsite resident services program that will include job training, health and wellness services, financial training, homebuyer education and a variety of youth afterschool activities. Monthly net rents are well below market and ranging from $310 to $720, and are determined based on unit size and income. Palm Terrace is the first affordable rental community built by Self-Help Enterprises in the City of Lindsay and among the 32 affordable apartment rental communities owned by SHE serving 1,458 families throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Arlin’s children no longer have to go outside, and sit on a rock to do homework. In addition to having access to the computer lab in the Palm Terrace community room, they also have access to a free, on-site Wi-Fi signal for their Chrome books, a courtesy-lending program of Jefferson Elementary School.

Clarissa wants to be a math teacher, while Alexandra talks about traveling the world. Fabian is the spokesperson of the family and eagerly vocalizes his feelings whenever he gets a chance. Damian, the smallest, has the energy of a track star. “I love having our own room!” said Clarissa.  Now that they have a stable home, Arlin contemplates pursuing her own goals. Arlin is an artistic person and dreams about one day starting a business providing party centerpieces for events. Palm Terrace provides a platform for these dreams to become a reality.

About the Project: 

This project is being financed through a combination of Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program funds via California’s Cap-and-Trade proceeds, Multifamily Housing Program funding from the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD), private equity raised through the federal low-income housing tax credit program, and Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds through the San Francisco Federal Home Loan Bank, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank. The AHSC program is administered through a partnership between the Strategic Growth Council and HCD. Construction loan financing is provided by JP Morgan Chase. Tax credit equity is being provided through the National Equity Fund, with Morgan Stanley as the primary investor.


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