Visalia accepts sale, paving way for downtown homeless housing project

A new housing project for low-income and homeless residents will soon be on its way to downtown Visalia.

Visalia City Council unanimously approved the sale of 300 E. Oak Ave. to Self-Help Enterprises for $ 1.2 million to build a mixed-use housing complex that will include housing for the city’s homeless population.

Self-Help Enterprises is a local organization that helps low-income individuals and families meet their housing needs through a variety of programs, including a ‘build your own home’ program and down payment assistance, among others.

The project – which has been in the works since early 2019 – will be a three-story mixed-use complex that has seven one-bedroom lofts on the first floor. The second and third floors will house 51 one-bedroom units and 22 two-bedroom units.

Named The Lofts at Fort Visalia, the building will have 3,500 square feet on the first floor for an art gallery and community hall that will house a space for resident services.

There will also be space for an office, computer lab, laundry room, maintenance area, storage area and space for wrap-around support services on site.

The outdoor space will have picnic tables, shade structures, and a play area.

The Lofts will serve households with an Area Median Income (MAI) of 60 percent or less.

Of the total space available, there will be 34 units designated for households between 0-30 percent AMI, 16 units for households between 3′-50 percent AMI and 29 units for households between 51- 60 percent of AMI.

There will be 40 units available as permanent supportive housing for people who are chronically homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Self-Help Enterprises received $ 9.2 million to help fund the project under the No Place Like Home program, and has $ 15.2 million in tax-exempt construction funding, $ 6.5 million of dollars in taxable construction funding, $ 580,000 in the Tulare County Permanent Local Housing Allowance and $ 286,000 in impact fee credits.

Monday’s decision comes just months after the council approved $ 5 million for the first low-barrier homeless shelter.

This 100-bed shelter, which will be built by the Riverway Sports Park, will house more than 500 homeless people in Visalia.

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