Community HousingWorks Awarded $350,000 in FHLB Affordable Housing Competition

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Community HousingWorks has been awarded $350,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Program.

The FHLB program rewards projects like ours that provide housing for vulnerable veterans and people with disabilities.”

--Sylvia Martinez, CHW
Sr. Program Manager

Community HousingWorks(CHW), with the sponsorship of La Jolla-based Torrey Pines Bank, has been awarded $350,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Program.

The award has led to a great deal of excitement at Community HousingWorks. “We’re using it to develop our innovative, sustainable community in Escondido- El Norte Apartments,” says Sue Reynolds, CEO for Community HousingWorks, “The FHLB grant will help CHW provide affordable homes to homeless disabled veterans and families struggling to make ends meet in this economy.”

By collaborating with Torrey Pines Bank, winner of the 2011 Developer/Partner of the Year Award from the San Diego Housing Federation for their support of local affordable housing efforts including El Norte Apartments, Community HousingWorks gained access to prestigious grant funds awarded to only the highest level of affordable housing projects.

Each year, the FHLB sets aside 10% of its net income to fund affordable housing for very low-, low and moderate income families and individuals and the majority of the funds are made available through the competitive Affordable Housing Program.

“CHW won the award out of a pool of over 150 applicants from California, Arizona and Nevada” Sylvia Martinez, Senior Program Manager reports “It’s a very competitive and the FHLB program rewards projects like ours that provide housing for vulnerable veterans and people with disabilities.”

“Community HousingWorks’ CEO Sue Reynolds serves on the bank’s Advisory Board,” says Crystal Watkins of Torrey Pines Bank. Watkins adds, “Having her working with us has been invaluable in our ability to understand the needs of the community and our customers. And because we’re a true community bank with capacity, we were happy to sponsor CHW to get this funding.”

The Money Will Help Everyone
San Diego County is home to almost 30,000 recently separated veterans – more than anywhere else in the United States. Over 20% of the homeless in Escondido are veterans. With 36 family apartments, El Norte will be able to serve dozens of families and seniors, with a full 25% of the apartments reserved as housing for homeless disabled veterans.

“We see El Norte as the perfect opportunity to address the overwhelming need to provide housing for veteran in San Diego’s North County,” says Reynolds, “This builds on our successful veterans housing program in Fallbrook.”

“Helping so many people takes some imagination,” Martinez explains. CHW purchased five properties in the Escondido Redevelopment Area using a combination of Redevelopment and federal Neighborhood Stimulus Program funds awarded by the City of Escondido. “This is a good example Redevelopment eliminating blight- there were four vacant homes dragging the neighborhood down and we created a 2.2 acre buildable site so the affordable housing helps the neighborhood turn around.”

CHW received $2,900,000 from the City of Escondido and is seeking final tax credit financing from the State and expects to complete construction in 2013.

Once completed, El Norte Apartments will include the following:

  •     Community Garden with access to tenant and residents of the neighborhood, the garden will provide residents with access to fresh produce, promote healthy eating habits and help fight childhood obesity.
  •     The Community Center a 1,000 sq foot building includes the management office and a meeting room that hosts CHW’s award winning Learning Center programs including the Civic Leadership Program which provides both youth and adults leadership training; the Financial Fitness Training and Home Buyer Education that CHW’s has used to train hundreds of residents to improve their credit, maintain a budget and move to financial independence and even home ownership; and the After-School Learning Center that provides a safe, structured curriculum that helps students excel in school and helps many go on to college.
  •     Services for Veterans: Specialized services will be provided to the disabled veterans living on the site.

“CHW cares about outcomes. The El Norte affordable housing and our Learning Programs will stabilize the lives of homeless veterans and help families get ahead in North County” says Ms. Reynolds.

About Community HousingWorks
Community HousingWorks is a San Diego-based non-profit dedicated to helping people and neighborhoods move up in the world by providing a full range of housing options combined with training and support. The organization provides apartments with affordable rent at 29 communities around San Diego County.

Since its founding in 1982, the goals of Community HousingWorks have always been to build beautiful yet affordable apartments; provide unique first-time homebuyer loans; and to support/train community members throughout San Diego County to help their families build a healthier economic future.

Community HousingWorks serves the San Diego County region, and in 2010 helped over 15,000 individuals, families, and children. Community HousingWorks is San Diego County’s only member of the national NeighborWorks Network®, and a proud affiliate of the National Council of La Raza.

Community HousingWorks can be found online at


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Sylvia Martinez
Community HousingWorks
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Rob Weinberg
MarketBuilding Team
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