Paso Robles News|Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing breaks ground on Creston Garden renovations 

Ground-Breaking

Breaking ground for Creston Garden. Left to right: Paso Robles Councilman Steve Gregory, Kevin Drabinski representing Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, Sylvia Barbosa representing USDA Rural Development, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing CEO John Fowler, Phillip Porter representing Enterprise Community Investment, Gideon Anders Senior Attorney with National Housing Law Project, Kevin Bommarito representing State Senator William Monning, Whitney Gordon representing U.S Congresswoman Lois Capps, JP Morgan Chase Vice President Shani Searcy.

 Apartments were slated to transition to market rate rent

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) held a groundbreaking ceremony for a playground, new community center and renovations to the Creston Garden Apartments on Tuesday. Originally funded through the USDA Rural Development’s 515 program and built in 1980, Creston Garden, located at 1255 Creston Road, is made of 60 units occupying 15 two-story townhome buildings. The apartments were purchased by PSHH to prevent them from transitioning from affordable housing to market rate housing. Escrow closed in April. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017.

“Affordable housing is critical on the Central Coast.” said PSHH CEO John Fowler. “Thousands of hardworking families are in need of affordable housing on the Central Coast, and losing Creston Garden to market-rate housing would have been a tragedy in our eyes.”

Much needed maintenance was put off at the aging property, and the 2004 Paso Robles earthquake contributed to foundation damage. Renovations to the apartment complex include a new 1500 square foot community room, a playground and after-school program for children, foundation and drainage system repairs, security cameras, new appliances, cabinetry, flooring and fixtures and upgrades to comply with American with Disabilities (ADA) standards. Fowler said the construction and renovation project will create 150 jobs.

Creston Garden Rendering

Artistic rendering of Creston Garden renovations.

Lupe Hernandez, a 25 year resident of the Creston Apartments said she is excited about the project but a little nervous about temporarily relocating while her home is renovated. “I love this place,” said Hernandez, “I raised my three boys here.” Another resident, Marisela Vela, said the residents with children are happy to have a safe playground so their children can play outside.

Speakers included: Fowler, Whitney Gordon representing U.S Congresswoman Lois Capps, Kevin Bommarito representing State Senator William Monning, Kevin Drabinski representing Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, Phillip Porter representing Enterprise Community Investment, JP Morgan Chase Vice President Shani Searcy, Sylvia Barbosa representing USDA Rural Development and Gideon Anders Senior Attorney with National Housing Law Project.

Also attending was Fifth District Board of Supervisors candidate Eric Michielssen. “I was part of the team looking this land over for this project before it was built,” said Michielssen. “I’m glad to see these apartments continuing as affordable housing to help meet the need in this county.” Michielssen served as Corporate Broker and Asset Manager for PSHH for 17 years.

The project is funded through joint efforts of the USDA Rural Development under the Section 515 program, and JP Morgan Chase Bank and Enterprise Community Development. Development partners include Keith Hall Architect, North Coast Engineering and Robert Andrew Fowler Landscape Architecture. “Working with the the USDA, Enterprise Community Investment, National Housing Law Project, and JP Morgan Chase, we were able to raise $5.7 million to acquire the property and $14 million for renovations,” said Fowler.

Through the Section 515 program, USDA makes direct loans to developers to finance affordable multifamily rental housing for very low income, low income, and moderate income families, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. JP Morgan Chase has been originating USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing  loans since 1992. Enterprise Community Partners mission is to create opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities.

The mission of PSHH is to provide affordable housing and programs leading to self-sufficiency for low-income families, seniors, and other special needs groups on California’s Central Coast. Founded in 1970, PSHH is the largest affordable housing developer on the Central Coast with nearly 1200 self-help homes and 1700 rental units developed.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.

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