Affordable housing projects in Fremont face funding shortages

Fremont – The City of Fremont has once again opened up the budget to help convert older motels into affordable housing.

The Bell Street Gardens project will transform the former Islander Motel at 4101 Mowry Avenue into 128 affordable permanent homes.

The motel was purchased in 2018 by Resources for Community Development (RCD), a Berkeley-based nonprofit affordable housing developer, and the city has backed the planned renovations with a number of loans. .

Prior to its most recent loan, the city lent developers a total of $13,295,000, most of which came from federal and state funds. Other funding sources for the project include grants from Alameda County and the California Housing Accelerator Program, which will cost more than $100 million, according to RCD.

The project’s funding package seemed complete until a myriad of factors got in the way.

“The RCD recently identified a funding shortfall of approximately $8.2 million due to the effects of high inflation, rising interest rates, and rising insurance premiums,” city officials reported.

On November 15, the Fremont City Council approved an additional $540,000 in developer loans with conditions. The loan will be financed from the city’s allotment of federal HOME funds, a block grant specifically designed to support affordable housing projects.

Developers can access additional funding only if their applications for the state’s Housing Accelerator Program ($45 million funding for approved housing projects) are rejected.

“If they don’t get the full amount they applied for, this funding will help fill the gap,” Fremont Housing Manager Lucia Hughes said in an interview.

With the developers using city loans, Fremont’s total financing for the project is $13,835,000, or about $108,000 per apartment.

Construction on the project has not yet begun, but Hughes expects it to be completed by spring 2025.

Homeless in Fremont

Homelessness in Fremont has increased 68% since 2019 to 1,026 residents, according to the City of Fremont’s 2022 Point-in-Time Survey.

In October, staff reported that Fremont’s community services department monitors about 200 campsites in the city and has been doing at least one cleanup, called abatement, compared to once every two weeks last year. I go twice a week.

To cover additional costs, the council doubled the budget for abatement services on November 15, increasing it from $617,120 to $1,255,120. Affordable housing projects in Fremont face funding shortages

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