Page One

Six projects vie for housing fund money

By Hank Sims Daily Planet staff
Wednesday December 12, 2001

Six housing projects for low-income and disabled people will vie for city funding at a special meeting of the Housing Advisory Commission Thursday night. 

The city has $1.9 million in its Housing Trust Fund this year. The six requests for HTF money amount to $4.75 million, making the decision on how the funds will be awarded particularly difficult.  

“This is one of those times when we have a number of good proposals, and would need more money than we have to move ahead with all of them,” said Steve Barton, the city’s director of housing. 

The projects will also be heard at tonight’s Planning Commission meeting. The commission will assess whether any of the proposed projects are likely to run into problems during their permitting and building phases. 

Three of those projects are asking for more than $1 million, meaning that only one of them will be funded. 

Two of the large projects are for new senior housing.  

Affordable Housing Associates is asking for $1.4 million to build “Outback Senior Homes,” a 38-unit development planned for 2517 Sacramento St. It includes 26 low-income apartments for senior citizens. 

“We feel our project is the most competitive of the three projects, because it’s the most ready to go,” said AHA’s Kevin Zwick, Outback’s project manager. 

Zwick said that the development had already applied for a use permit, and is scheduled to be heard at the Zoning Adjustments Board and the Design Review Committee. 

He added that AHA had gone through several rounds of design, and had answered neighbors’ original criticisms of the project. 

“This project significantly reduces the height of the building, the density of the project and traffic concerns in neighborhood,” Zwick said. 

AHA is promising to repay the loan within 15 years. HTF loans are usually open-ended, as the city only asks grantees for a percentage of profits, if there are any. 

Jubilee Restoration and Resources for Community Development are seeking $1.25 million to build “Jubilee Senior Homes,” a 27-unit senior housing complex at 2575 San Pablo Ave. 

“We’re confident that our project serves the community,” said Jubilee’s Todd Harvey. “It’s well-designed, and it’s on a major transit corridor, which serves the needs of the elderly.” 

Harvey said that minority residents would likely benefit from the project, as there are many low-income, minority senior citizens already living in the west Berkeley neighborhood.  

Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency is asking for $1.35 million to build seven new multifamily units and various health and culture facilities at Ursula Sherman Village, 711 Harrison St. 

The units are targeted to low-income adults and families and homeless people. 

BOSS is also asking for $186,000 to rehabilitate McKinley House, a transitional home for women with children, many of whom are fleeing an abusive spouse. 

Two other projects are seeking small grants to help them complete work on projects currently in development.  

The group “Berkeley Youth Living with Disabilities” is seeking $65,000 to repay a loan incurred during construction of a 6-bedroom facility for severely disabled children. 

Adeline Street Apartments is asking for $332,000 to complete work on its project, which is targeted for physically disabled people and AIDS patients. 

The HAC recommendations will be forwarded to the City Council, which is expected to vote on the matter early next year. 

The Housing Advisory Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. The Planning Commission will meet at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave., tonight at 7:00 p.m.