Government / Politics

Council approves $700K to help fund 48-unit extremely low to moderate income apartments

CHISPA was chosen over a competing bid for senior housing project planned for Line Street in Hollister

The Hollister City Council passed a resolution March 20 to approve the selection of a request for proposal (RFP) from CHISPA, in partnership with the Community Services Development Corporation (CSDC), for $700,000 to assist with a 48-unit affordable senior housing project located at 560 Line St.

Mary Paxton, program manager of Hollister's Development Services Department, gave the background on the project, stating that the council approved a resolution Jan. 21 that authorized the staff to accept proposals for the use of $700,000 from the city’s extremely low to moderate income housing asset fund.

“One of the objectives was to ensure that the city could meet its spending mandates in the health and safety code in 2019,” she said. “One of those targets is to make sure our fund balance is below $1 million. The other is that we spend at least 30 percent of the funds on extremely low-income housing for rentals.”

Based on the 2016 median income limits for a family of four, an extremely low-income household would earn no more than $24,350. She said there were two applicants for the project, one being CHISPA (Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc.), which proposed using the funds to build the apartments and to include a manager.

“There would be 10 extremely low-income rentals, 32 variable-income rentals, and six low-income rentals,” she said. “They also included in their proposal that they would have neighborhood meetings and also, after they build the housing, they would engage the neighborhood in community activities to be held in a community center in the complex.”

Paxton said the second respondent was Pacific West Properties, which proposed to use $200,000 to go to the already approved 80-unit Vista del Oro project on Fourth Street. She said the proposal included eight extremely-low income rentals, 16 low-income rentals, and 11 moderate-income rentals. She also said the proposal did not address management of the units or engaging residents or surrounding neighbors.

She asked that the council to direct the staff to begin working on loan agreements with CHISPA because it met the objectives and because Pacific West Properties’ proposal to use only $200,000 did not meet the city’s objective to meet its spending limits for 2019.

Councilwoman Mickie Luna commented on the council’s efforts to inform citizens about senior housing, making it possible for the city to qualify for other grants. Councilman Karson Klauer said it was nice to “have all the boxes checked off” by each proposal and that it was nice to have competing projects to service extremely low income housing needs.

Hollister resident Marty Richman said he thought the proposal was good considering the amount of money being spent on the project. He wondered if the amount included ongoing maintenance.

“Nothing lasts forever and there has to be some kind of consideration about ongoing maintenance issues that can add up to a lot of money,” he said. “We’ve had people in here before with issues concerning funding of our existing low-income apartments. It’s important that whoever does it addresses that, if not this time around, then in future proposals.”

Councilman Raymond Friend asked Paxton if the apartments were for seniors. She said CHISPA’s proposal was for senior apartments and Pacific West Properties’ was for all ages. He asked her who would manage the apartments.

“It would be CHISPA, in partnership with the Community Services Development Corporation,” she told him. "In the proposal they submitted a funding plan and their capacity to operate an affordable housing project.”

Luna commented that she recently toured CHISPA senior housing in Salinas. She said she was amazed at how clean the complex was and had no doubt the same standards would be applied to the Hollister project. 

John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]