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Valley rental projects get $2.4 million federal grant

June 09, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Three affordable rental projects in Brawley, Calexico and Imperial have received a $2.4 million infusion from the federal Affordable Housing Program via the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Rep. Duncan Hunter's (R-Alpine) office announced Friday.

Each project includes 80 rental units.

The project in Calexico, Villa de las Flores, is already under construction and should be completed sometime this winter, according to Charles Schmid, project manager for Solana Beach-based Chelsea Investment Corp.

"We still need other financing to make those other projects happen," he said, adding the company should know within 75 days if it will get the needed money.

Chelsea gets cash by obtaining tax credits that are then sold to investors.

"They give us cash in return for taking away a big part of their tax bill," Schmid said.

Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison said the grant application was submitted by the three cities and Valley Independent Bank. He said each city is set to receive $800,000.

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Hunter said the grants will help ensure hard-working people can afford quality housing in the communities they already call home.

"As our region's population continues to grow, many of our citizens face increased costs and a shortage of affordable housing," Hunter said in a prepared statement. "By encouraging collaboration among local organizations, private industry and government, the Affordable Housing Program is helping communities lower the cost of housing for those who need it most."

Brawley City Manager Jerry Santillan said the 80-unit project in Brawley will be built on Best Road and C Street on the east side of the city. He said the project was recently presented to the City Council and that additional funding is still being sought.

Imperial City Manager Vincent Long said that city's project is slated to go on a 9.32-acre parcel in the area of Aten Road and Myrtle Avenue that is in the annexation process and pending before the Local Agency Formation Commission.

"It should be a high-quality, low-income rental project," Long said, adding occupant income eligibility will be in the $20,000 to $25,000 range. "We're talking about a quality rental community for working families.

"We're very excited about the development," Long said. "We think it will add balance to our housing stock."

Long said the parcel is part of a larger area to be annexed that is lacking city services and adequate streets.

Housing and city officials for Calexico were not available for comment.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco funds community-investment programs that help member financial institutions create affordable housing.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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