Category: Multifamily Affordable Housing
GUERNEVILLE — An effort to bring long-term affordable and assisted housing to western Sonoma County came to a close in March, as Luther Burbank Housing and its development partners cut the ribbon on the 48-unit Fife Creek Commons project in Guerneville.
Half of the units were set aside for individuals and families with special needs related to issues like mental illness, a history of homelessness and HIV. Eight units are devoted exclusively to permanent and subsidized supportive housing, and the development filled what proponents said was a significant gap in services in the Russian River area.
“It was several years in the dreaming and thinking stage,” said Chaney Delaire, senior project manager at Luther Burbank Housing. “The Russian River area really needs affordable housing, and nothing long term has been built there before.”
The $19.4 million project near Guerneville’s downtown core features two primary “banks” of apartments, elevated above the floodplain by a parking garage underneath. That platform also supports 20 feet of open space between the structures, an area featuring a community room, laundry facilities, a full kitchen, child and youth areas and offices for supportive service providers.
Designers oriented the structures to allow for ample sunlight, a luxury many residences go without in an area known for its dense forests. The two buildings offer a variety of housing options, from two-story townhome-style residences with nearly 1,300 square feet to one-bedroom units with 620 square feet.
Work on the 1.7-acre site began in 2010, including the relocation and restoration of a historic home on the property. Construction began in 2011.
At least 60 percent of the units are allocated to individuals and families that earn below 50 percent of the median average income for the area, with remaining units available to those earning up to 60 percent of that amount. The eight subsidized units are supported by state funding, with supportive services provided by Community Housing of Sonoma County.
Major sources of capital for the project included Wells Fargo, who purchased more than $13 million in federal low-income housing tax credits awarded to the project and also provided additional financing. Sonoma County drew on multiple sources to finance approximately $5 million, and the project received an additional $1 million from the California Department of Mental Health, Ms. Delaire said.
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