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Hughson council moves forward with affordable housing development

POSTED August 24, 2010 10:16 p.m.

Hughson council members Thom Crowder and Doug Humphreys made what could be their last decision for the City of Hughson Monday night — one day before an election aimed at recalling the two coucilmen — in approving funding to build affordable housing.

On Monday, Humphreys, Crowder and council member Matt Beekman voted in favor to apply for a $3 million federal HOME Investment grant and allocate appropriate Hughson Redevelopment funds to help build a new facility called the Hughson Family Apartments. Mayor Ramon Bawanan excused himself from the discussion to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

“One of the beauty’s of this project . . . is it’s for the working poor,” Humphreys said. “We have to have this project.”

The project targets those families who make 30 percent to 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is about $32,000 a year, said Linda Kuipers, City of Hughson redevelopment and housing employee. The average hourly income rate in Hughson is $15.46 an hour.

“This is geared toward the workforce in Hughson,” Kuipers said. “It’s for the people who work in Hughson so they can actually live in Hughson.”

Total costs for this new housing community is approximately $14 million, she said. About $6.7 million will come from federal and state tax credit equity, $3 million from USDA Rural Development funds, $3 million — if granted — in HOME loan, $800,000 from the Hughson RDA funds and $329,500 from the deferred developer fee.

The Family Apartments will include 48 units with the 49th unit available for the manager who will live above the community center. The community will be set up in a circle shape “so who comes and goes will be monitored at all times,” Kuipers said.

Family members who will live in this facility must have a job or steady income along with a clean background check, Kuipers said.

The facility will have a swimming pool, spa, covered parking, garages, playground, computer learning center, community gathering room with a kitchen, on-site laundry facilities, exercise room with facilities, and 24-hour on-site resident management.

Each unit will also have Energy-Star construction, solar energy generation system, refrigerator and range with oven, dishwasher, microwave and disposal, washer and dryer hook ups, exterior private storage, private patio or balcony and green building features.

If the funding is available for this project as it is currently planned, they are hoping to start construction in September or November 2011 with about 12 months to complete the project, said Mike Kelly, Pacific West Communities, Inc.

“This is a ray of hope for many families,” said Hughson community member Kathy Vaughn. “There are a lot of pluses to this. I helped 27 low-income families today with many of these families in need of affordable housing.”

This project has been in the works for the past seven years with the City of Hughson trying to save up their RDA funds specifically for his affordable family housing development.

“This is a quality project,” Kuipers said. “This is not low end.”

The City of Hughson will apply for the HOME loan by Sept. 1 hoping to move one step closer to making this affordable housing project into a reality.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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