APTOS, CALIF. - Parkhurst Terrace is a world away from the notorious trailers that were once parked on the same land and served as homes to many families.
One of Santa Cruz County, Calif.’s newest affordable housing developments, Parkhurst Terrace is notable for providing 68 apartments, establishing an on-site sewage treatment system, delivering a suite of services, and tapping a new funding source.
“The transformation has been remarkable,” said Jane Barr, senior project manager at Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, the nonprofit group behind the development.
The property was recently a temporary trailer park, but because of the high rents and lack of affordable housing in the coastal community, the site served as a permanent spot for low-income families living in the small, aging trailers. About 400 to 500 people resided on the property, sharing two communal restrooms, one for men and another for women. The site was at risk of being shut down for health and safety violations when Mid-Peninsula Housing stepped in and purchased the property.
The trailers have been replaced by attractive one- to four-bedroom townhomes. More than 450 applications were submitted for the apartments. Several of the original trailer residents have returned to the new development.
Located in an unincorporated area of the county, the site could not connect to a public sewage system, so an on-site facility was required. Mid-Peninsula Housing went a step further and built a tertiary treatment plant that produces gray water to irrigate the landscaping.
Social services are a vital part of Parkhurst Terrace, where about 60 percent of the heads of household are Spanish speakers, and many residents are farmworkers. An education specialist runs after-school and summer programs for the children living at the development. A parttime services coordinator helps deliver medical services, adult education classes, and other services. The Second Harvest Food Bank provides a monthly delivery of food.
Multiple financing sources were needed for the $26.9 million development, including the state Department of Housing and Community Development, which provided a $5.8 million loan from its Multifamily Housing Program and another $5 million loan in HOME funds, including an extra $1 million in HOME funds for deep income targeting, a new program in its first year, according to Barr.
Low-income housing tax credits allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee generated about $11 million in equity from investor U.S. Bank Community Development Corp. In addition, $15 million in tax-exempt bonds were approved by the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, issued by the California Municipal Finance Authority and purchased by Wells Fargo Bank, which supplied a $15 million construction loan and a $1.35 million permanent loan. The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Program provided $408,000 through member Greater Bay Bank. The Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency provided a $1.75 million loan.
The development is named after local legend Charley Parkhurst, a daring stagecoach driver who rode and lived nearby. Upon Parkhurst’s death in 1879, it was discovered that he was a woman. Adding to the legend, Parkhurst cast a ballot in 1868, 52 years before women won the right to vote.
Some of Parkhurst’s plucky spirit can no doubt be found in the development. trailer park.