Low-income housing gets a boost | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Low-income housing gets a boost

Jenifer Ragland

At least one dilapidated apartment complex in South Lake Tahoe will get a makeover and be used for low-income housing, thanks to a $1 million grant in state HOME funds awarded to the city.

Patrick Conway, housing coordinator, said the money will be used to provide low-interest loans to affordable housing developers toward projects that will improve 18 or more units.

“This is the first time the city has been awarded grant funds to repair substandard apartment complexes,” he said. “It will include replacing existing appliances, redoing bathroom facilities, installing new carpets … putting on new siding, painting … and basically making the unit look brand new.”

The city’s Housing Authority is expected to send out proposal requests next week, and a specific project should be chosen in June.

Conway said once a building is upgraded both inside and out, it will be deed-restricted to provide affordable rents per unit, and tenants restricted to low-income renters for at least 30 years.

For a two-bedroom apartment, Conway said rents would likely range from $300 to $400, and a two-person family income restricted to under $25,000.

“The project will improve the housing stock within the community,” he said. “The dilapidated structures will become less of a liability to the community and the city is creating more housing opportunity for people who are low income.”

The effort will also help provide for a certain amount of replacement housing units, which are needed to mitigate city redevelopment projects, Conway said.

When low-income residents are displaced as a result of redevelopment, the city has an obligation to create replacement housing for them, by either building more units or fixing up existing complexes.

Conway said the City Council in August directed him to pursue funding for the rehabilitation option.

South Lake Tahoe’s application was chosen out of about 90 others in the state of California, only half of which received funding.

One local developer who is hoping to take advantage of the grant money is Richard Morris, a commercial broker at Aspen Realty.

“By having these funds available, we can rehabilitate older, outdated and poorly maintained housing units within the city,” Morris said. “Without these funds, a project wouldn’t be doable from a financial point of view.”

He said he is working with developers in identifying two possible properties for the project, one near Stateline and the other near the “Y” intersection.

“Very few if any multi-family complexes have been built in Tahoe in more than 20 years … and we sorely need a vehicle to upgrade these units,” Morris said. “This gives the developers an incentive to do the rehabilitation and solves the problem for everyone – the tenants, the town and the investors.”

Conway said the city will be looking at financial feasibility, number of units and location of the site in choosing a project.

Details of the loan will be worked out in negotiations with the chosen developer, but could include as low as 3 percent interest, a 30- to 45-year term and deferred payment, he said.

Conway said he hopes to start construction on a project in May 1998.

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