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Second phase of affordable housing project gets underway in Turlock
avena bella II
The soil was officially turned over on Nov. 13 to signify the start of construction for Avena Bella II. - photo by Photo Contributed

The effort to ease the shortage of affordable housing in Turlock took a small step forward recently when officials broke ground on the second phase of Avena Bella.

EAH Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit organization, has begun working on the second phase of the Avena Bella development in Turlock. Located at 500 W. Linwood Avenue, Avena Bella II is a 60-unit expansion of the 80-unit Avena Bella I, completed in 2014.

The two-story Mediterranean style apartment buildings will provide 60 new 1-,2-, and 3- bedroom rental apartments for housing for people whose income is below or at 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income. It will share amenities with Avena Bella I, such as a resident community room with a kitchen, computer lab, pool, BBQ and recreation areas, children’s playground, among other features. It will also be environmentally friendly and will have a solar thermal water heating system and solar panels to reduce the development’s carbon footprint. 

As of August, there were 500 families on the wait list for the 60 units.

According to Affordable Housing Online, a web database of affordable housing in towns throughout the country, 47.1 percent of households in Turlock are renters. About 53 percent of those who rent in Turlock are considered “rent overburdened,” meaning more than 30 percent of their gross income goes toward rent. A household making less than $3,227 a month would be considered overburdened when paying Turlock’s median monthly rent rate of $968.

“The people that Avena Bella serves are working families. They could be anyone, from your office assistants to forklift drivers,” Assistant to the City Manager for Housing and Economic Development Maryn Pitt said in a previous interview with the Journal. “There’s a great need — rent in Turlock is more expensive than rent in Modesto.”

The Turlock City Council approved the development and financing agreement with EAH Housing in August to complete Phase 2 of the project. The $19 million project is funded through City of Turlock HOME Loan and federal and state affordable housing programs.

Established in 1968, EAH Housing is one of the largest nonprofit housing development and management organizations in the western United States. EAH develops low-income multifamily housing and manages more than 110 properties in 55 municipalities in California and Hawaii.