New housing for low-income and disabled veterans and their families is helping to bring new life to Camp Anza, a staging ground for service members being sent to and returning from the Pacific Theater during World War II, in Riverside, Calif.
Nonprofit Wakeland Housing & Development Corp. (HDC) has rehabilitated the camp’s boarded-up historic Officers’ Club as a community center for residents and created 30 two - and three -bedroom bungalows around it.
Home Front at Camp Anza, which was completed in March, serves households earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income.
“We are excited to serve those who have served the country and other residents seeking an affordable place to call home,” says David Hetherington, a project manager at Wakeland HDC. “These are folks who are low income, and there’s a really large need for affordable housing for groups in this income category. This is a great preventative measure to help folks stabilize and have an affordable place to live.”
Mercy House Living Centers helps to provide comprehensive support for the veterans—many who served in Iraq and Afghanistan—and their families, including helping residents access their Veterans Affairs benefits and health care as well as providing after-school programs.
Additional amenities include a community garden as well as a free computer lab, a therapeutic pool, a fitness room, and a history room that contains artifacts that were found on site and others that were donated or purchased to tell the story of Camp Anza in the Officers’ Club.
“One of the goals was to not only provide space that could create new stories and provide benefits to the current residents, but it also carries the former story of Camp Anza forward for future generations of what took place there,” says Hetherington.
The development team restored the Officers’ Club to its former glory while following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitations.
The $14.5 million development was financed primarily with low-income housing tax credits allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and tax credit equity from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. Additional financing came from the City of Riverside, Riverside County, the City of Riverside Housing Authority, and The Home Depot Foundation.
The architect was Rodriguez Associates Architects & Planners, the general contractor was Sun Country Builders, and JMRC served as the historic consultant.