The Homeless

Housing for homeless planned at historic Sacramento hotel, new Citrus Heights complex

These are some of the issues behind California’s housing crisis

California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.
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California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.

A plan that aims to house homeless residents in a beaux-arts hotel in downtown Sacramento and a new complex in Citrus Heights moved forward Tuesday when county supervisors approved applications for multimillion-dollar state loans.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved two applications requesting $12.7 million in state funding to create 180 units of permanent supportive housing from the state’s No Place Like Home program. Under the plan, the county serves as a co-applicant.

One project would convert the Capitol Park Hotel on Ninth Street in downtown Sacramento into a supportive housing apartment with 134 studio units. The other project, called Sunrise Pointe, would create 47 units on an empty lot along Sunrise Boulevard near Old Auburn Road in Citrus Heights.

Both housing developments would offer wrap-around services to assist formerly homeless residents, such as employment training, education and other behavioral services.

“Best case scenario, they receive their No Place Like Home loans and (apply for) tax credits and by end of calendar year, construction for Sunrise Pointe and rehabilitation at Capitol Park Hotel will start next January,” said Christine Weichert, assistant director of development finance at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

The No Place Like Home program was created in 2016 and received a funding boost through Proposition 2, a “millionaire’s tax” that voters approved in November providing up to $2 billion in bonds to finance housing for the homeless throughout the state.

Of the 180 units proposed between the two projects, 87, or nearly half, will permanently house people who are experiencing homelessness, are chronically homeless or at risk of being chronic homeless, and are living with mental health issues, according to Cindy Cavanaugh, director of homeless initiatives for the county.

The Capitol Park Hotel development is being led by SHRA and Mercy Housing California. The Sunrise Pointe development sponsors are Jamboree Housing Corp. and Hope Cooperative, formerly known as TLCS.

The Capitol Park Hotel project would cost more than $51.5 million, with part of the money going toward adding the bathrooms and kitchens required in each studio. The Sunrise Pointe development would cost nearly $22 million. Developers are hoping to secure low-income housing tax credits from the federal government to finance the bulk of the project.

Jamboree Housing Corp. and Hope Cooperative asked the board to authorize an application for a roughly $3 million competitive loan through NPLH. The Capitol Park Hotel project would entail a roughly $6.9 million competitive loan and $2.8 million non-competitive loan.

The project application approvals come as Sacramento County continues to expand its homeless initiatives through newly unlocked state funding. The board voted in December to apply for and accept roughly $5 million in non-competitive funding to expand four county programs that began in October 2017 with a $10.3 million budget.

In the past year, hundreds of previously homeless people have received housing through the county. Sacramento County’s most recent survey indicates more than 3,600 people are homeless. This year’s biennial point-in-time count will be conducted this week, with data from the survey to be released later in the year.

The applications will be submitted to the state Wednesday. Cavanaugh said during the meeting she anticipates the first round of funding announcements will be issued in May.

“This is an important step to providing housing in Sacramento for homeless residents, (and) it’s permanent housing,” Weichert said. “It’s really a model that works.”

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Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks covers Sacramento County and the cities and suburbs beyond the capital. She’s previously worked at The New York Times and NPR, and is a former Bee intern. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was the managing editor of The Daily Californian.
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