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City planning new affordable housing development on Baker Street

City of Bakersfield
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 02:02:18-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The property on 1001 Baker Street is part of the Baker Street Revitalization Plan and will be able to accommodate 85 affordable housing units for moderate, low, and very low-income families soon.

The City of Bakersfield approved a sale agreement and a financing plan for this property with the housing authority of Kern and the Cesar Chavez Foundation to developed this complex for what they call mixed-use.

This Baker Street Revitalization Plan falls in City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales ward 2.

“This is a significant problem that all of us leaders should and folks in the community should be concerned about,” Gonzales said.

If you’ve been looking for a place to live recently in Bakersfield, you should understand where that concern is coming from

City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales says that rental units are at a one percent vacancy rate in Bakersfield, and available affordable housing is in a worse spot.

“There are for example over 40 individuals in our city homeless shelter at Brundage lane navigation center who have housing vouchers, who are ready to move out of the shelter and into permanent housing, but there are no affordable housing units available,” said Gonzales.

City of Bakersfield's Economic Development Planner, Ceceila Griego says there are about 4109 affordable housing units in the city right now.

“Before measure N, we had zero local dollars invested in affordable housing,” Gonzales said.

So far, Gonzales says nearly $10 million has been put toward affordable housing projects in Bakersfield since the measure was adopted. A proposal to allocate $5 million for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year is set to go before City Council on June 16. They’re also hoping to allocate an annual $5 million for this purpose.

“We want to do an average of five million a year to support affordable housing development. It’s been a long-time priority for the city,” Griego said.

As for Gonzales, he points to affordable housing projects like the Baker Street Revitalization Project.

“Even though this needs to be celebrated, we still need more. And we still need to push, and that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said.

Gonzales adds the city is working on a housing trust fund to invest local dollars into the trust fund, and get matching grants up to two million dollars. but the city councilmember also saying that housing is just the beginning

The city reports the complex is being restricted for households making less than 60% of the area median income, with 43 units of those set aside for households making 30% of the area median income.

This year, the city says developers are on track to build over 200 units of affordable housing just like last year. Gonzales says to keep in mind that the Baker Street Project specifically is on track to finish in 2023.

Gonzales says the financing plan approved is made up of home dollars, a federal allocation, as well as local dollars, over $3 million, was approved.

They also approved a partnership with these developers to apply for funding on the state level through the strategic growth council. This $45 million project, will need different sources to fund it and the city is helping them do that.