JURUPA VALLEY: Veterans
housing closer to reality
Habitat for Humanity Riverside’s 26-home tract would be open to low-income veterans across Riverside County.
From PE.com 4/15/15
Habitat for Humanity Riverside’s plan to build a housing development for military veterans in Jurupa Valley could get a major boost this week when the proposal goes before the City Council for final approval.
Planning commissioners, who recommended approval, were “thrilled” with the project last month, said Kathy Michalak, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Riverside.
Any low-income veteran with an honorable discharge who works or lives in Riverside County can apply to buy one of the homes, Michalak said.
The Jurupa Valley City Council has set a public hearing for its Thursday, April 16, meeting.
The project – known as a “veterans-enriched-neighborhood” – calls for 26 single-family homes and a small park on five acres in the Glen Avon area of Jurupa Valley, Michalak said. The property, which belongs to Riverside County, will be deeded to Habitat for Humanity.
The single story, three- and four-bedroom, homes will be built on lots that average about 5,000 square feet. The homes will be energy efficient with drought-tolerant landscaping. Michalak said. Each will have a vegetable garden with drip irrigation.
“The homes are available to the families of the fallen as well,” she said.
A family of four with an estimated annual income of between $31,000 and $50,000 is considered low-income.
An estimated six percent of Riverside County’s population is veterans, said Grant Gautsche, director of the Riverside County Department of Veterans Services.
This is Habitat for Humanity’s first effort to build such a neighborhood in Riverside County, Michalak said.
A key element will be providing veterans and their families with training and services to help them keep their homes.
Seventeen families have prequalified to buy the homes and another 25 to 30 are going through the process, said Michalak, who added officials have had no problem finding applicants.
Each veteran and/or family will be required to provide 500 hours of sweat equity on the project, Michalak said.
Required classes for veterans and families in the program include financial literacy, nutrition and healthy cooking, home ownership and budget planning.
Other services available include counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic violence and art workshops for trauma victims.
A housing development where resources are brought to the veterans instead of them traveling miles to access resources is an important, new concept, Gautsche said.
“There is a need for affordable housing for everyone in California,” Gautsche said. “But there is a real need for veterans.”
A second veterans-enriched community is planned in Riverside on Myers Street, off Magnolia Avenue, Michalak said.
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