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City owned four-plex to be sold to We Care
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The Turlock City Council approved two motions Tuesday night that will simultaneously improve the curb appeal of one neighborhood and bolster the funds for a nonprofit agency helping the community’s homeless.

In a unanimous vote, the Council approved a rehabilitation project of a four-plex housing unit on Lambert Way that once completed will be sold to We Care to  use as affordable and transitional housing.

The city’s home consortium has developed a plan to acquire and rehabilitate rental units that have fallen into some state of disrepair or neglect. Once rehabilitated the units would be sold to nonprofits to own and manage, which helps the city address affordable and transitional housing needs.

“To bring people from homelessness to home ownership, you have to provide people the opportunity the move up that ladder,” said Maryn Pitt, the assistant to the City Manager for Economic Development and Housing.

The city used funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to acquire the property for $267,500. The rehabilitation and tenant relocation costs are expected to be around $270,000, with the total cost of the four-plex project approximately $537,500. Funds for the needed repairs will come from a Community Development Block Grant.

We Care will purchase the property with a HUD loan for $110,000 and a CDBG loan for $240,000, for a total of $350,000. Under CDBG guidelines, a property cannot be sold for more than the appraised value, which the city estimates for the Lambert property will be around $350,000. Should We Care at some time no longer be able to continue managing the units, the city would recover its initial loan amount and a portion of the property value.

The four-plex located near the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds is in need of numerous repairs, so much so that the housing department sought Council approval for the work. All of the four units require work to bring them up to code, as well as repairing the laundry facilities and re-roofing the units.

 “Quite frankly it is about the worst four-plex in that neighborhood,” Pitt said in her project presentation to the City Council.

The repair work is expected to begin in the next few weeks and should be completed by May or June, Pitt said.

The purchase will be a real boon for We Care and the individuals they serve. The nonprofit organization will be able to use the units for transitional housing, as well as renting them out to low income families. The rental income will allow We Care to apply for grants that require matching funds and give them an asset to apply for state and federal funds that are currently out of their reach.

“It’s unbelievable for us to be able to own and operate a four-plex and provide housing for low income families,” said Maris Sturtevant, a We Care board member.