Affordable housing projects win $31 million in greenhouse gas funds

An artist’s rendering of the South Stadium project in downtown Fresno, one of four housing projects in the Valley receiving competitive grants or loans this week from the state’s greenhouse gas-reduction program
An artist’s rendering of the South Stadium project in downtown Fresno, one of four housing projects in the Valley receiving competitive grants or loans this week from the state’s greenhouse gas-reduction program Special to The Bee

Four affordable-housing projects, with features to reduce residents’ need to drive in Fresno and Tulare counties, has won a collective $31.4 million in state grants and loans.

The grants are part of the Affordable Housing and and Sustainable Communities program administered by the state’s Strategic Growth Council, the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the California Air Resources Board. The winning proposals in the Valley that were awarded Tuesday are among 25 projects statewide that received a total of more than $289 million. The funding is from cap-and-trade money raised through the auctions of pollution-emission credits to companies under the state’s greenhouse gas-reduction program.

“When people are able to choose walking, biking and transit options over hopping in their cars, we’re all healthier,” state Housing and Community Development Director Ben Metcalf said of the projects selected for the competitive grants and loans.

The largest of the Valley awards was about $15.6 million to the Cesar Chavez Foundation for its planned Kings Canyon housing project in southeast Fresno. The foundation is assembling the estimated $31.7 million it needs to build a 135-unit apartment project on the south side of Kings Canyon Road, between Willow and Peach avenues. The site offers pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as connections to nearby shopping and services and potential employers, as well as to Fresno’s future Bus Rapid Transit system.

In downtown Fresno, Phase 1 of the city’s South Stadium project on the Fulton Mall – which is being reconstructed as Fulton Street to restore vehicle traffic – was awarded about $5.7 million. Phase 1 includes a five-story, mixed-use building at Fulton and Inyo streets that would include about 10,000 square feet of office and retail space on the ground floor and 51 residential units above. Earlier this year, the city approved an offer of free land to developers Mehmet Noyan and Terance Frazier, with the condition that Noyan and Frazier have a year to secure the estimated $15 million needed to build.

Visalia-based Self Help Enterprises received awards for two projects in Tulare County. In Lindsay, the proposed 49-unit Lindsay Village project received about $5.5 million. It will include vanpool and public transit programs to reduce residents’ need to drive. Other features will include solar photovoltaic panels to provide power for residents and common areas, as well as a grey water recycling system.

In Dinuba, Self Help Enterprises’ 43-unit Sierra Village housing project was awarded about $4.6 million. Like the Lindsay project, Sierra Village will also feature a vanpool program and other transportation improvements, solar power and water conservation features.

Elsewhere in the San Joaquin Valley, $18.6 million was awarded for a farmworker housing project in the Kern County community of Wasco, $8.9 million to a mixed-use and affordable housing project in Stockton, and $1.6 million to an affordable housing project in Turlock.

“These cap-and-trade investments will improve access to housing, transit, jobs and other opportunities in communities throughout the state, while advancing climate and health equity and creating more liveable, vibrant communities,” Strategic Growth Council Executive Director Randall Winston said in a written statement announcing the awards.

More than 40 other projects did not receive awards in the AHSC program’s competitive scoring, including a request from the California Vanpool Authority for $3.3 million to expand its vanpool services in Hanford. The city of Huron’s application for $9.6 million to advance the Americana Community Apartments project fell short of the program’s scoring threshold, and a $10.2 million request from Dominus Consortium LLC for its Van Ness Apartments project in Fresno was rejected because of an incomplete application.