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Norwalk Breaks Ground on Sixty Unit Affordable Housing Facility for Veterans

GROUND-BREAKING: (l-r) Todd Fabian, Fred Zermeno, Communications Director for Senator Bob Archuleta; Jesus Gomez, Norwalk City Manager; Emilio Salas, Councilmember Tony Ayala, Mayor Rick Ramirez, David Peterson, Councilmember Jennifer Perez, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary of Veteran Services Division from Cal Vet; Catherine Kungu, Homelessness Programs Section Chief California Department of Housing and Community Development; Ed Holder, VP of Development for Mercy Housing; Lynn Jones, California Department of Housing and Community Development and a Veteran from the Norwalk American Legion.

 

By Brian Hews

In February 2020, just weeks before the pandemic lockdown, the Norwalk City Council adopted an ordinance that approved a development agreement with Mercy Housing; Mercy has offices all over the country, including three in California. Mercy Housing California (MHC) is the largest regional division of Mercy Housing, Inc., with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento. MHC has developed and operates 134 affordable communities with more than 9,190 homes serving lower-income seniors, families, and people who have experienced homelessness.

The development agreement was in conjunction with a project that includes constructing a four-story, 60-unit affordable residential apartments that will provide much-needed affordable housing for veterans and their families, including supportive services located at 13629-13705 San Antonio Drive and 11950 Foster Road.

In August, the City Council voted to receive state funds in the amount of $3 million for the Mercy Housing Veteran’s Affordable Housing Project. 

One property Mercy developed and now manages in L.A. County is the Baldwin Rose Apartments in El Monte. The property has 54 affordable housing units, including 22 units for homeless veterans and 32 units for low-income families with a Veteran Head of Household. There is also one manager’s unit. The community provides one, two and three-bedroom apartment homes, including 19 accessible apartments for mobility-impaired households and 4 apartments for hearing/visually impaired households.

Mercy also provides case management for Veterans provided by New Directions. New Directions started over 25 years ago and has grown into an organization with a budget in excess of $10 million annually. They have assisted over 1,000 veterans and family members annually.

The residential units will serve extremely low, very low, and low-income households and provide them with quality residential living, which may not otherwise be available to such households. The entire development will be affordable housing to help meet much-needed housing unit goals that have been set by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) number assigned to the City in the last Housing Element cycle.

Mayor Jennifer Perez stated, “The City has made strategic investments in our efforts to resolve homelessness in our City. The Veteran Housing Project now has the funding necessary to move the project along. We look forward to the City’s partnership with Mercy Housing to serve veterans and their families.”

The Mercy Housing Veteran’s Affordable Housing Project also satisfies the City’s Strategic Plan Goal 2, which is to improve living conditions for residents in greatest need. 

Residents interested in obtaining more information can email [email protected] or call (562) 929-5319.

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