Another View: Central Sacramento has enough low-income housing

Paul Tsamtsis
Paul Tsamtsis

On June 25, the Washington Park neighborhood met with Mutual Housing California to hear its proposal for 50-unit Lavender Courtyard at the corner of 16th and F streets, supposedly for low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (“LGBT senior housing would show love to 16th Street,” City Beat, July 19).

Subsequently, we learned that anyone could live there, and that this would be yet another low-income-only project for central Sacramento, this time using the LGBT community as window dressing.

For more than 40 years, the central city has been targeted with low-income housing. We have way more than our fair share. More forward-looking cities find that mixing low- and moderate-income projects work better for residents and communities.

City Councilman Steve Hansen arranged for our meeting, but it occurred within days of Mutual Housing’s deadline for exercising an option to buy the property, which it since has done. I believe the short time frame suggests Hansen did not want serious input from residents.

Hansen worked with Sacramento City United School Board member Jay Hansen to reopen Washington Elementary School next fall near the proposed housing. It would have made sense to attract a project aimed at families whose children could attend the school.

The proposed development is not near or easily accessible to anything seniors need, such as grocery stores, public transportation or medical care.

Why not put this project near a light-rail station in the suburbs? There are vacant parcels around many light-rail stations, despite repeated promises that they would be home to medium-density housing to reduce traffic.

Lavender Courtyard would run counter to President Barack Obama’s policy of dispersing low-income projects throughout communities. If it is built, this project would be more of the same. Hansen needs to support Sacramento’s future with planning that considers all aspects and impacts of any new project.

Paul Tsamtsis is a founder and member of the Washington Park Neighborhood Improvement Group.