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Help may be on way for Tahoe Valley tenants

Jenifer Ragland

Few will dispute the notion that South Lake Tahoe is in dire need of upgraded affordable housing.

Today, the city’s Housing Authority is expected to take a step in filling that void.

The board will consider granting about $950,000 in state HOME funds to the Rural California Housing Corporation – a Sacramento-based nonprofit developer.

The money will go toward funding a $5 million rehabilitation project planned for the run-down, 70-unit Tahoe Valley Apartment complex at 1055 Tata Lane. RCHC is acquiring the rest of the money through state and federal housing finance agencies.

City Housing Coordinator Patrick Conway is recommending the housing authority approve the payment, which would come in the form of a low-interest, deferred-payment loan for acquisition and rehabilitation of the complex.

Once refurbished, all units in the buildings would be designated as affordable housing – 50 to 60 percent of the city’s median income – for the next 55 years, Conway said.

“Any tenant will have first rights to maintain their unit,” he said. “We see it as an advantage to them – they will have an improved apartment unit and no increase in rent.”

The monthly rents for a one-bedroom in the complex will be $503 for tenants characterized as low income, and $412 for those classified as very low income. About 20 percent of the units will exclusively be for very low-income renters.

KOA Development – a commercial company at Oakhurst, Calif. – also submitted an application for the Rental Rehabilitation Program, proposing to convert the St. Francis Motel, 823 Stateline Ave., into the Lakeshore Vista Apartments.

Conway said while improved affordable housing is needed in that area, the Tahoe Valley project is a more beneficial and financially viable venture, primarily because the bulk of its financing comes from noncompetitive sources.

The project scope calls for close to $1 million in exterior and interior improvements, Conway said.

Units would be equipped with new plumbing fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchens, as well as new cabinets, carpets and counter tops. The units would be painted and receive necessary repairs.

Exterior repairs would include replacing the roof, installing new siding, painting, landscaping, resurfacing the asphalt and installing cedar fencing.

“The complex really can’t go anywhere but down – without additional funding sources, it would continue to get worse and worse within the community,” Conway said.

That is why the Rural California Housing Corporation chose the site, said Kevin Smith, project manager in the rental development department.

He said because Tahoe Valley has so many units, offers 10 three-bedroom units for larger low-income families and that it sits in a “target area” for improving housing, it is an ideal project for the nonprofit group.

“There is nobody who profits from the work we do. We are coming in to be part of the community, we are looking to build a relationship and work together because we are going to be part of the neighborhood and the community for a very, very long time,” Smith said. “We wanted to go somewhere where our efforts would make a difference in the neighborhood.”

The city was awarded the $1 million in HOME funds last year after competing statewide with other small cities. The remaining $47,600 of the grant will be used for administration.


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