Preserving Affordable Rental Housing

Preserving Affordable Rental Housing

Posted on February 26, 2018

On February 23, Self-Help Enterprises celebrated the completed renovation of two apartment rental communities in Kern County: Solinas Village in McFarland and Almond Court in Wasco. The event took place at the Solinas Village apartments in McFarland.

Residents in these underserved communities face over-crowding and rent burden with most farmworkers and low-income families struggling to obtain decent, affordable housing for their families. To serve the housing needs of low-income families in the San Joaquin Valley, Self-Help Enterprises develops high quality, affordable rental communities. The 52-unit Solinas Village apartments and the 36-unit Almond Court apartments, featuring two, three, and four bedroom units, are an important source of housing that serves residents with incomes at 60% of the area median income or less.

To help sustain long-term preservation and affordability, the rental projects underwent major renovations over the last eight months. As part of the rehabilitation, both properties received new energy efficient windows and exterior lighting with LED fixtures. The kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms in each apartment were also renovated to include new kitchen and bath cabinets, energy efficient appliances, new flooring, new plumbing, and new fixtures. In addition, the properties received complete landscape makeover featuring moisture irrigation sensors for more efficient water usage and new playground equipment with shade covers to protect children from the dangers of sun exposure. At Almond Court, the roof and HVAC systems were replaced and at Solinas Village, new asphalt was put down in the driveways and parking areas.

With the remodel of the community centers, which are located within Solinas Village and Almond Court, a computer lab has been added for resident use. The onsite computer lab will offer computer literacy classes for children and adults. Additionally, the upgraded community centers provide space for resident services available through community partnerships. Resident services will include an afterschool program, financial management workshops, homeownership education classes, and healthy living programs, including nutritional cooking classes and health fairs.

The much-needed improvements were made possible by funding support from the National Equity Fund, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase Bank, and the County of Kern.

Self-Help Enterprises also received funding from the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) to install solar PV and the energy conservation measures. Solar PV has been installed to offset 100% of the electrical loads of the projects. This reduces utility bills for residents and the property while also reducing greenhouse emissions and air pollution.

“Preserving and reinvigorating affordable housing at Solinas Village and Almond Court will allow residents to remain in the neighborhood that they call home at rental rates that are affordable at their income level,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises.

During the rehabilitation, residents from both communities were relocated for approximately two weeks to allow for the renovation of the residential units. Hotel accommodations were coordinated for the families and temporary storage was provided on-site.

Today, Self-Help Enterprises operates 1,358 units of affordable rental housing throughout the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley. All of the organization’s 29 rental communities are professionally managed and are located near schools, bus lines, and other vital community services.