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Award-winning ag worker community in Woodland to be expanded

Sacramento-based Mutual Housing California, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing communities, will break ground Tuesday on the second phase of a Woodland project that won a prestigious international award last year.

In 2017, Mutual Housing won the World Habitat Award, presented in partnership with the United Nations, for what officials called the nation’s first certified zero net energy ready rental-housing community in Woodland. Only two awards are presented annually for outstanding and innovative housing projects internationally. Dozens of entries are submitted annually from around the globe.

Developed and maintained by Mutual Housing California, the 62-apartment Spring Lake development in Yolo County opened in 2015 and provides year-round housing to agricultural workers and their families.

World Habitat noted that an “estimated 6,000-plus agricultural workers in the county endure some of the worst housing conditions and most dangerous jobs in the country.”

On Tuesday, officials will break ground on phase two of the Spring Lake development on Farmers Central Road in southeast Woodland: 39 additional units designed to produce slightly more energy than the community needs. The second phase is being called the “positive net energy” phase.

The community includes various energy-saving materials and systems, including a solar panel system.

“We are delighted that the financing and all the other hard work came together to add more units and make the community even more energy sustainable,” Roberto Jiménez, Mutual Housing’s CEO, said in a statement.

The community is funded from a variety of sources, including federal and state tax credits and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and city of Woodland.

The apartments will be rented to agricultural workers and their families earning up to 60 percent of median income in the area. Rents will range between $300 and $1,000 per month.