Lake Forest to partner with nonprofit to research affordable housing opportunities

By: Nathaniel Percy

From the OC Register: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/09/06/lake-forest-to-partner-with-nonprofit-to-research-affordable-housing-opportunities/

LAKE FOREST – The city plans to explore options for affordable housing with an emphasis on the city’s veterans after the city council and Housing Authority voted to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with National Community Renaissance at its Sept. 5 regular meeting.

The city council voted 3-0-2. Councilman Andrew Hamilton abstained because he wanted more information on the subject, and Councilman Jim Gardner left minutes before the final vote of the night to tend to other matters.

National CORE, of Rancho Cucamonga, is a nonprofit affordable housing developer that provides a variety of services, including site acquisition, planning and development, construction, property management and compliance, according to a staff report.

In June, the city council issued a notice of funding availability for affordable housing development with an emphasis on serving veterans. The city received statements of qualifications from six nonprofit affordable housing developers and providers. Of those six, National CORE ranked the highest among a panel of four city staffers.

In the staff report, the city said it has up to $3.7 million in available funds from affordable housing developer in-lieu fees and the Housing Authority’s low/moderate income housing asset fund.

The non-profit boasts other affordable housing projects, including the 19-unit Las Palmas Village project in San Clemente and the 69-unit Oakcrest Terrace project in Yorba Linda. National CORE has 25 years of experience in providing and developing affordable housing, Amanda Wicker, a management analyst with the city, told the council.

National CORE will have a site selection process that is compatible with the community, said Michael Ruane, executive vice president of the non-profit, adding the nonprofit will engage the community to find a suitable site for affordable housing.

The non-profit partnered with Innovative Housing Opportunities and selected RRM Design Group for architectural services. In addition, other organizations like Hope through Housing Foundation, the “Strong Families, Strong Children Collaboration,” Mercy House and Families Forward would provide supportive housing services – including nutrition, senior services, behavioral health and recovery, as well as assisting job seekers with workforce training opportunities – according to the staff report.

“When we address homelessness and low-income housing, we have to work with partnerships,” Mayor Scott Voigts said. “That makes me happy that you’re doing that. We get farther when we’re working in partnership with other agencies and organizations. I’m excited to move forward.”