Mission Heritage Plaza in downtown Riverside, California, is dedicated to housing justice. The community not only provides 72 affordable apartments for families and homeless veterans, it also is home to new offices for the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County and the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California, which provides public programming, historic resources, and exhibits that trace the Inland Empire’s civil rights history over 200 years.
“With housing justice in mind, the whole entire parcel ended up housing multiple community resources,” says Taylor Holland, director of development at Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. “Affordable housing and homelessness at their core are civil rights issues, and that’s why we were drawn to the project.”
The development is the dream child of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County and has been a long time coming, says Holland.
Serving households at or below 60% of the area median income, 25 units are reserved for formerly homeless veterans, with rental subsidy provided by HUD-VASH project-based vouchers. Of those units, five are for chronically homeless individuals and six are for those with disabilities. Thirty units have additional project-based vouchers. A wide range of on- and off-site programming is provided through Lighthouse Social Service Centers and the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.
The $47.3 million transit-oriented development received local and state support, with the state providing a direct budget allocation to fill the financing gap. It also received funding from the state Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program for its commitment to decrease greenhouse gases through limited on-site parking and access to transit, walking, and biking. This funding also aided community improvements, such as new bike lanes, a mobility hub for public transit, and a dedicated pedestrian crossing that leads to other community amenities.