River Grove Apartment Community: Questions & Answers

River Grove Apartment Community: Questions & Answers

Posted on August 9, 2022

Why is River Grove bring proposed? The River Grove Apartment Community is proposed because there is a shortage of affordable housing in Oakhurst. Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in unincorporated Madera County is currently $1,250 per month. In 2020, rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,120 per month. This is a 11.6% increase in the last two years. Additionally, according to the Madera County Housing Element, there is a need for 2,269 affordable housing units to meet the housing needs of unincorporated Madera County. River Grove will provide much needed housing at an affordable rent for young people new to the housing market, seniors on a limited income, and working families.

What funding sources will be utilized to construct River Grove? State funding has been secured from the No Place Like Home (NPLH) program for a portion of the units, the Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) program, and we anticipate the project will attract a private investor who will make use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. SHE has several banks and non-profit investment firms available to partner on this project, who are involved in other apartment communities and are mission driven. We have also applied for Infill Infrastructure Grant Funds and HOME Investment Partnership funds from the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The River Grove project is not public housing, which is generally defined as being owned by a public agency, whereas River Grove will be privately owned and operated. All residents are required to pay rent ranging from approximately $300 to $1,200/month, depending upon their income level.

What eligibility factors are considered for applicants applying for housing at River Grove? The following criteria are reviewed for every applicant seeking housing at River Grove:

  • Previous rental history
  • Dependable income to be verified by copies of pay stubs, etc.
  • Criminal background check for all residents living in the apartment
  • Credit check and review of pending collections, if any
  • Applicant must disclose all residents who will be living in the unit
  • Proof of identification and other documentation is required
  • Eligibility criteria as required by NPLH for the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units (see below)

In addition, for the PSH funded through NPLH, all referrals will come from the County and that process will be directed by the County Behavioral Health Services Department, and referrals must meet the NPLH requirements of formerly homeless or at-risk of homelessness with mental health challenges. This includes families with a child who has a mental health disability, women suffering from postpartum, and community members suffering from depression. The County works with SHE to ensure referrals have the correct support network in place to ensure success in an integrated community. The project is not a re-entry project and we do not take direct placements from parole, Care Court or early release programs.

Is River Grove transitional housing or a homeless shelter? No. River Grove is a traditional apartment community which provides a permanent housing opportunity. It is not transitional housing or a homeless shelter, which provide temporary housing. Some units are designated as PSH, which simply means we offer robust supportive services on-site to support residents. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines PSH as “permanent housing in which housing assistance and supportive services are provided to assist households with at least one member (adult or child) with a disability in achieving housing stability.”

How will the project mitigate fire risk? The Madera County Fire Department has reviewed the project and the only comments provided were the requirement that the project meet California Building Code and that no dead-end access/parking lot that exceeds 150 feet in length can be created. There were no concerns raised about fire trucks or the height of the buildings. River Grove will be designed with fire risk as a primary consideration. Mitigation measures include using fire retardant materials, gutter guards to reduce the buildup of flammable debris, hardscapes throughout the site that are not flammable and create a clearance area around the buildings, and setbacks which create a buffer zone from highly vegetated areas. Additionally, all buildings will have a sprinkler system. The community center located on-site will be available as an emergency response center in the event there is a fire in the area, as a command and/or response center, or as an additional community space to provide emergency shelter during a natural disaster. The community center will have emergency backup power to operate the space during climate events or power outages. Self-Help Enterprises has an Emergency Services team which is active during natural disasters like flood, fire, earthquake, drought, and pandemics. The project will have an emergency response and an evacuation plan.

Will any units be designated for special populations? In the first phase, which is 70 units, 22 units will be designated as PSH. All residents are required to pay rent ranging from approximately $300 to $1,200/month and must have income to support the payment of rent. The amount of rent required is based on the income tier of the resident, so the very low-income residents pay rent around $300/month and the higher income residents pay $1,200/month. The units not funded by NPLH (47 units) are available to any household and units are one, two and three-bedrooms. This is a typical unit mix for our projects, as we often serve young adults, seniors and families in the same apartment community. We also offer an after-school program in the community center which many families with children utilize, and we offer services during the day for seniors and other residents focused on health and wellness.

Will there be any support services offered on-site to residents and who will provide the services? Yes, there will be robust services offered at the project. Madera County has committed to providing 20 years of services to PSH households and a private office is available in the community center along with larger group meeting space. The County will provide case management services and other behavioral health services (mental health, substance abuse, benefit enrollment, etc.) in the community building. SHE also coordinates the delivery of other services in the community center, including an after-school program, financial literacy, health and wellness, youth enrichment programs, etc. SHE coordinates with area service partners to provide support on-site including Camarena Health and the Community Action Partnership of Madera County. In addition, SHE has a resident Services team to connect with residents on a regular basis to ensure they are receiving the services they need to be successful and thrive. While the community center is primarily available for resident use, the space will also be available for outreach events, community activities, feedback sessions, etc. The community center schedule is managed by the resident manager at the site.

How will Self-Help Enterprises ensure that residents don’t move people in that are not on the lease? An on-site management team monitors site activity closely and all residents are required to report who is living in the unit. We also request residents inform the on-site manager when they have company visit overnight. Three days is the limit for visitors and approval can be granted up to two weeks with review, but anything beyond that is against the occupancy agreement and a violation to the lease, which is strictly enforced. There will be cameras throughout the site with a video surveillance system in the community center, which is centrally located with the manager’s office, so we are able to monitor activity. All residents sign a good neighbor commitment which we take very seriously, and we also have a zero-tolerance rule. Unauthorized guests, drugs and any kind of physical altercation are considered immediate grounds for eviction.

How will Self-Help Enterprises ensure units do not convert to short term rentals? SHE conduct’s frequent inspections and also perform a recertification of each household annually. Subletting is not allowed and would be an actionable violation of the lease. As stated above, the camera surveillance system and manager who lives at the property provides the ability to prevent short term rentals. There will be at least three regulatory agreements that govern use and occupancy of the project, and we will have annual inspections from the State and County.

Will there be 24-hour staff at River Grove? River Grove will have two full time management staff residing in the community and additional maintenance staff to ensure the project remains in top condition.

How will the project be maintained? Income from rents include ample resources to maintain the property in the near and long term. River Grove will have an established maintenance reserve account, so we have the resources available to complete maintenance and upkeep of the project, and we have full time maintenance staff funded through the operating budget. Our rental policies to do not allow trash and clutter around apartments and our site staff ensure grounds and landscaping maintenance, trash pickup, and maintenance of site lighting and cameras.

How will residents and visitors access the site and is Sierra Way sufficient? Questions about vehicular access to River Grove were raised at the initial Conditional Use Permit hearing. The County initially required SHE to improve Sierra Way along the frontage of the site. In response to the concerns, SHE offered to construct the entire Sierra Way street width, including paving, curb, gutter and sidewalks for the entire length of Sierra Way. Additionally, SHE has agreed to make the street improvements identified in the traffic study, which include elimination of the two way leftturn lane on Road 426 and converting to a striped or raised median between Sierra Way and Road 425B to minimize the potential for head-on collisions. The traffic study projected a need for a roundabout or traffic signal in 2043 based on projected growth, of which River Grove represents a 12.1% share of the impact. We have offered to fund 12.1% of the improvement cost now to the County or to install the full improvement (i.e. traffic signal) and work with the County on a reimbursement mechanism for the other 87.9% of the cost.

Is there sufficient parking at River Grove? The project includes 156 parking spaces which meets State law requirements and is the amount determined by the State to be sufficient for the Project. SHE operates over 2,000 units of rental housing and the amount of parking we find sufficient is a minimum of 1.1 spaces per unit, which is exceeded by 24 spaces at River Grove. In the event a resident is parking on a neighboring private site, we will act swiftly to address the issue.

Will there be any impacts to the River Parkway Trail? There will be no impacts to the River Parkway Trail and SHE will set aside the riparian corridor as natural habitat so none of the vegetation or riverbed is disturbed. The riparian corridor will not be a part of the development site nor will it be disturbed in any way.

Is there adequate water and Sewer capacity to serve the site? Yes, water and sewer capacity have been confirmed. Sewer will be provided by the County; there are several sewer units that will be transferred with the site and SHE will pay the required fees for the remaining sewer connection. Water service is also available from the California-American Water Company and a will serve letter has been obtained.

Who is Self-Help Enterprises? Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) is a mission-driven nonprofit corporation which owns and operates 46 apartment communities similar to River Grove totaling 2,057 units throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Once we develop an apartment community, we own the project and commit to being a great neighbor in perpetuity (i.e. we have never sold or “flipped” any properties and do not intend to do so in the future). The level of services we offer at the community sets us apart from other apartment owners, and our extensive waiting lists (hundreds of families in most communities) allow us to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of our residents and the neighborhood. We only serve the counties of the San Joaquin Valley and Mariposa County, and we currently own and operate housing in Oakhurst, Mariposa, Parksdale and Madera. SHE is a non-profit organization established in 1965 and our mission is to work together to build and sustain healthy homes and communities.
Information about our existing apartment communities can be found at:

Rental Communities


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