Grace Yao’s home at the Sun Ridge Apartments has given her an opportunity to go to college.
When she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, she couldn’t find a job even though she is well educated and had worked as a paralegal in West Africa.
Her family’s modest income was being consumed by housing costs, with market rents in the area at about $1,900 a month, she recalled. Fortunately, she found Sun Ridge a few years ago. The affordable housing community in Concord, Calif., has allowed her husband to support their family while she goes to school to pursue a law degree.
This would not be possible if they were living in an apartment with market rents, said the 29-year-old student and mother.
After she passes the bar, she hopes to able to move out of Sun Ridge so another family can move into her affordable apartment and have the same opportunities.
The recent purchase and renovation of the property by nonprofit Community HousingWorks (CHW) has ensured that the 198-unit community will remain affordable for another 55 years for families earning no more than 50% and 60% of the area median income.
Home to 600 people, the development is a key source of affordable housing in Concord, located in the East Bay. Originally built in the mid-1960s, the development was in need of substantial rehabilitation when it was acquired by CHW in 2017. The nonprofit has completed a major overhaul of the property’s 16 residential buildings, including renovating the apartments, installing new security gates, and adding solar panels. The new energy-efficient features are expected to save 30% on the property’s utility consumption and about 445,000 gallons of water per year.
Residents also have a new community center, a computer lab, and play structures. The nonprofit will also be providing resident services, including academic enrichment, financial education classes, and health activities.“We do this work because we believe opportunity begins at home,” said Sue Reynolds, CHW president and CEO, at the development’s renovation celebration.
The approximately $61 million project was financed using several sources, including low-income housing tax credits allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and syndicated by National Equity Fund to raise about $20 million in equity for the development. CHW also used bond financing from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee through an issuance from the California Statewide Communities Development Authority, a Freddie Mac Tax-Exempt Loan from Jones Lang LaSalle, and a Column Financial subordinate loan.